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Met>ievAL Lyrics 

The -publishers will he pleased to send, upon request, 
an illustrated folder listing each volume in 




MeOievAL LyRics 











AND translators: 


joy" from The Complete Works of Frangois Villon (new 


from Medieval German Lyrics (london: Oliver & boyd, 


Random House is the publisher of 



In the period vaguely described as the "middle ages" a vast body of 
lyric poetry was produced which the present anthology endeavors 
to mirror in as many aspects as possible. Considerations of unity and 
expediency, however, as well as of space, have imposed certain limi- 
tations. Since English medieval writing is familiar to most cultured 
readers of English, and as adequate English versions of poets who 
wrote in Latin do abound, it was decided to devote these pages to 
the birth of the lyric in Continental Europe, with particular atten- 
tion to the rise of new languages and techniques. 

Poets conversant with medieval languages and distinguished 
scholars gifted with creative ability have assisted in this task, and, 
except for a few poems, all the translations were done especially for 
this anthology. A considerable number of these lyrics are presented 
here in English for the first time. 

The editor wishes to thank his critics and advisors: Thomas G. 
Bergin (Yale), Andrew Chiappe (Columbia), A. Closs (Bristol), 
Margaret F. Richey (formerly of London), Martin Riquier (Barce- 
lona), Maurice Valency (Columbia) and James B. Wadsworth 
(Penn State), as well as Kenneth Freyer, Eleanor C. Eldot, Mar- 
garet A. Webb and Frieda Baroway, of the Paul Klapper Library, 
Queens College; and most especially Berenice Hoffman for her 
intelligent and painstaking reading of the entire manuscript. 


Queens College, 
Flushing 57, New York 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 


Individual Table of Contents precedes each section. 

Notes and Biographical Sketches are at the end of each section. 




ITALY 201 









ANONYMOUS Translated by 

In an Orchard, under the Leaves of a Hawthorn 5 

En un vergier sotz folha d'alhespi Maurice Valency 


Nightlong, Daylong, as the Sweet 6 

Quan lo rosignol escria Jacques LeClercq 

William IX, Count of Poitiers (1071-1127) 
I'll Make Some Verses Just for Fun 6 

Farai un vers de dreyt nien Thomas G. Bergin 

Under the Sun I Ride Along 8 

Farai un vers pos mi sonelh Thomas G. Bergin 

In the Fair Times of New-born Spring 1 o 

Ah la dolchor del temps novel Thomas G. Bergin 

Cercamon (c. i i 00-1152) 

With Mournful Tones My Verses Start 12 

Lo plaing comenz iradamen Harvey Birenbaum 

True Love Warms My Heart 1 3 

Per fin' amor m'esjauzira Paul Blackburn 

Marcabru (fl. 1 1 29-1 1 50) , 
In April around Easter the Streams Grow Clear 1 5 

En abriu s'esclairo il riu contra'l Pascor Paul Blackburn 

No Doubt At All, I'll Take Him on as Critic 17 

Per savi'l tenc ses doptansa Paul Blackburn 

Winter Goes and Weather Betters 19 

L'iverns vai el temps s'aizina Paul Blackburn 


I'll Tell You in My Own Way 

Dirai vos en mon lati 
Since My Courage Is Clarified 

Pus mos coratges s'es clartits 

Jaufre Rudel (fl. 1 1 48) 
When the Waters of the Spring 

Quart lo rius de la fontana 
When Days Grow Long in May 

Lanquan li jorn son lone en may 
He Has Not Sung Who's Made No Sound 

No sap chantar qui so non di 

Paul Blackburn 

Paul Blackburn 

Maurice Valency 

William M. Davis 

Harvey Birenbaum 

Bernart de Ventadorn (fl. 1 1 50-1 1 80) 
Friend Bernard de Ventadorn 

Amies Bernartz de Ventadorn 
When I See the Skylark Winging 

Can vei la lauzeta mover 
Fair Now to Behold the Outgreening 

Can Verba fresch'e'lh folha par 
It Is Worthless to Write a Line 

Chantars no pot gaire valer 

James J. Wilhelm 

Daisy Aldan 

Thomas G. Bergin 

Paul Blackburn 

Raimbaut d'Aurenga (c. i i 50-1 i 73) 
Full Well I Know How to Speak of Love 

Assatz sai d'amor ben parlor Maurice Valency 

My Lords, I Pray You Now, Give Ear 

Escotatz, mas no say que s'es Maurice Valency 

Beatritz de Dia (fl. 1 1 60) 
I Dwell in Deep Anxiety 
Estat ai en greu cossirier 

Harvey Birenbaum 


Heavenly King, Glorious God of Light 

Reis glorios, verais lums e clartatz Norman R. Shapiro 








Raimbaut de Vaqueiras (c. i 155-1205) 

Watchman on the Tower, Watch with Care 4° 

Gaita ben, gaiteta del chastel Norman R. Shapiro 

High Waves That Ride the Sea 41 

Alias undas que venez suz la mar William M. Davis 



Peire Vidal ( i 175-1205) 
When I Breathe This Air 

Ab Valen tir vas me Vaire 
My Lord Dragoman, If I Had a Good Steed 

Dragoman senher, s agues bon destrier 
Well Pleased Am I with the Gentle Season 

Be m'agrada la convinens sazos 
I Put an End to Singing 

De chantar m'era laissatz 

Maurice Valency 

Maurice Valency 

Daisy Aldan 

William M. Davis 

It'll Be a Long Time Again before My Friends 
Tart mi vieran mei amic en Tolosa 

Paul Blackburn 

Bertran de Born (fl. 11 80) 
I Have Made a Sirventes in Which No Word Is Missing 

Un sirventes cui motz no falh 
If All the Grief and Sorrow, the Strife 

Si tuit li dol elk plor e'lh marrimen 
Rassa Rises, Thrives, and Prospers 

Rassa, tan creis e monta e poia 
About Two Kings I'll Write Half-a-Poem 

Miei sirventes vuolh far dels reis amdos 
I Apologize, My Lady, Though Guiltless 

leu m'escondisc, domna, que mal no mier 
Ah How I Like to See Great Power Pass 

Bel m'es quan vei chamjar lo senhoratge 
I'm Pleased When Gaudy Eastertime 

Bern platz lo gais temps de pascor 

Paul Blackburn 

James J. Wilhelm 

William M. Davis 

James J. Wilhelm 

William M. Davis 

James J. Wilhelm 

William M. Davis 


You See Me Like the Elephant 

Atressi com Volifanz Harvey Birenbaum 

The Monk of Montaudun 
[Lo Monge de Montaudun] (c. 1180-1215) 
I Like Gayety and Horsing Around 

Molt mi platz deportz e gaieza Paul Blackburn 

I Much Dislike, I Dare Avow It 

Fort m'enoia, so auzes dire Maurice Valency 

Peirol ( i 160-1225) 
and Dalfin d'Alvernhe (d. 1234) 
Dalfin, a Target for Your Bow 

Dalfi, sabriatz me vos Thomas G. Bergin 







4 Provence 


The Sweet Softness with Which Love Serves Me Often 69 

ho dous cossire que'm don' amors soven Paul Blackburn 

Gaucelm Faidit (fl. 1 1 85-1 21 5) 
A Knight Was with His Lady Fondly Lying 72 

Us cavaliers si iazia Norman R. Shapiro 

Uc de La Bacalaria (c. i 200-1 232) 
To Praise the Gift of Love That Binds My Heart 73 

Per grazir la hona estrena Norman R. Shapiro 

Gaucelm Faidit, Uc de La Bacalaria 
and Savaric de Mauleon (c. 1 200-1 232) 
A Debate 74 

Partimens Paul Blackburn 

Peire Cardenal (c. i 225-1 272) 
I Am an Enemy to Trickery and Pride 77 

Tostemps azir falsetat et enian Harvey Birenbaum 

Once on a Certain Nameless Town 79 

Uns ciutatz fo, no sai cals Thomas G. Bergin 

Priests Disguise as Shepherds 81 

Li clerc si fan pastor William M. Davis 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 84 



In an Orchard, under the Leaves of a Hawthorn 

En un vergier sotz folha d'alhesfi 

In an orchard, under the leaves of a hawthorn, 
The lady kept her lover by her side 
Until the watchman cried that the day had come: 
Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes! 

"Oh God, if only the night were not over, 

And my friend were not going away, 

And the watchman had never seen the dawn or the day! 

Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes! 

"Fair sweet friend, let us kiss once again, 
In the depths of this field where the birds are singing, 
Let us have our joy in despite of the Jealous One! 
Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes! 

"Fair sweet friend, let us play one more game 
In this garden where the birds are singing, 
Until the watchman begins to play on his pipe. 
Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes!" 

"In the sweet breeze that comes from yonder 
Where my friend is, courteous and gay, 
I have drunk a sweet draught of his breath — 
Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes!" 

The lady is gracious and charming, 

And many look at her because she is beautiful, 

And she has set her heart on a loyal love: 

Oh God, Oh God, the dawn! How soon it comes! 




Nightlong, Daylong, as the Sweet 
Quan lo rosignol escria 

Nightlong, daylong, as the sweet 
Nightingale his love doth greet, 
I lie at my sweet heart's feet 

Neath the flower 
Till the watchman from his tower 
Cries: " 'Tis dawn! Fair lovers, rise! 
Soon bright day will gild the skies!" 



I'll Make Some Verses Just for Fun 
Farai un vers de dreyt nien 

I'll make some verses just for fun, 

Not about me nor any one, 

Nor deeds that noble knights have done, 

Nor love's ado — 
I made them riding in the sun 

(My horses helped, too.) 

When I was born I cannot say; 
I am not sad, I am not gay, 
I am not stiff nor degage; 

What can I do? 
Long since enchanted by a fay 

Star-touched I grew. 

Dreaming for living I mistake 
Unless I'm told when I'm awake. 

William IX, Count of Poitiers 

My heart is sad and nigh to break 

With bitter rue — 
And I don't care three crumbs of cake, 

Or even two. 

So ill I am that death I fear; 

I nothing know but what I hear; 

I hope there is a doctor here, 

No matter who, 
If he can cure me I'll pay dear. 

If not, he's through. 

I have a lady, who or where 
I cannot tell you, but I swear 
She treats me neither ill nor fair 

But I'm not blue — 
Just as the Normans stay up there 

Out of Poitou. 

I have not seen yet I adore 

This distant love; she sets no store 

By what I think and furthermore 

('Tis sad but true) 
Others there are, some three or four, 

I'm faithful to. 

I've made this verse; if you'll allow 
I think I'll send it off right now 
To one who'll pass it on somehow 

Up in Anjou 
He'd tell me what it means, I vow, 

If he but knew. 



Under the Sun I Ride Along 
Varai un vers fos mi sonelh 

Under the sun I ride along 

And tell this story in a song; 

Ladies there are who do great wrong, 

I mean such dames 
As turn a cruel and heedless ear 

To lovers' claims. 

Those who will dally and demur 
And on their knights no grace confer 
Do mortal sin; worse I judge her 

That loves a priest; 
By rights she should be hunted down 

Like any beast. 

But hear me: silent and discreet 
Through our Auvergne mild and sweet 
I rode and happened there to meet 

Sir Guarin's dame, 
And Bernard's too; they spoke me fair 

And asked my name. 

"God save you, pilgrim, as you fare," 
Thus cried one of the comely pair, 
"Gentle you seem and debonair, 

If I may judge; 
Yet many vagabonds and rogues 

Our highway trudge." 

Now mark the style of my reply: 
I spoke no truth, I told no lie, 
But answered only with a sigh 

(I had my plan) : 
"Babariol, babariol, 


William IX, Count of Poitiers 

Then said Dame Ermesses in glee 

To Lady Agnes: "Mute is he; 

Let's take him home and lodge him free; 

When we're alone 
Such sport as we'll devise with him 

Will ne'er be known." 

So then one cast her mantle o'er 

My back, and through her chamber door 

Led me, and I could ask no more. 

A cozy fire 
Burned in the hearth; a man had all 

He might desire. 

A lordly meal did they prepare 
And two fat capons were my share 
All hotly spiced : the wine was rare 

And all for me. 
No steward served, no cook was there 

But just we three. 

"Sister, this fellow is too shy 

To say a word while we stand by; 

Lest he be scheming on the sly 

Let our cat come; 
I'll warrant we shall straightway learn 

If he be dumb." 

So Agnes went to fetch the cat; 
Ne'er had I seen a beast like that, 
I fell to trembling where I sat 

And with good cause: 
Long-whiskered was he, big and fierce, 

With cruel claws. 

Those prudent ladies first undressed 
Their mute and unsuspecting guest, 
Then on his back the cat they pressed — 
Keen could I feel 

io Provence 

Its talons ripping down my flank 
From haunch to heel. 

As Agnes dragged it by the tail 
My body's length I felt each nail, 
And with the anguish I turned pale 

Yet stood all meek; 
By God, they could have flayed me there 

Ere I would speak. 

"Sister," I heard Dame Agnes say, 
"He's mute indeed; I think we may 
Prepare ourselves for sport and play: 

Draw the bath hot." 
More than a week I spent with them, 

Such was my lot. 

Now hear the tally I'll relate: 

A hundred fourscore times and eight 

I laid 'em — and a woeful state 

They left me in, 
With harness torn and broken blade — 

Aye, 'twas a sin. 

Good Squire, if I feel no worse 
Tomorrow, take this little verse 
To those fair ladies, with my purse, 

And — tit for tat — 
Ask them in memory of me 

To kill that cat! 


In the Fair Times of New-born Spring 
Ah la dolchor del temfs novel 

In the fair times of new-born spring 
The trees leaf out and small birds sing; 

William IX, Count of Poitiers n 

Each in his own tongue greets the day 
And all songs mingle in union sweet. 
Time now it were to tune my lay 
Toward that which makes my joy complete. 

Alas, from whence each good thing 

No message comes, sealed with her ring — 

How can my heart be happy — nay, 

I fear me it may cease to beat 

Before I learn — if I learn I may — 

If Love has won or met defeat. 

For love with us has followed the way 

Of the hawthorn tree whose branches sway 

Trembling under the night's cold sleet, 

Whipped by the wind and shivering, 

Till light of morn and the soft sun's heat 

Fresh bloom and life to the young buds bring. 

And I recall as but yesterday 
When we called truce to our affray, 
Pledging our love without deceit — 
This will I swear, God witnessing: 
Let my hands 'neath her mantle meet 
And I'll have done with sorrowing. 

From slanderers' malice I'll not strav 
From my true love; in vain they'll bray. 
I know how gossip fills the street, 
I know how jealous tongues can sting: 
Let starvelings snarl — we have the meat, 
The salt, the knife and everything. 


12 Provence 


With Mournful Tones My Verses Start 
Lo flaing comenz iradamen 

With mournful tones my verses start, 
with words that rise from grieving heart, 
as anguish raging past my art 
tears youth and courtesy apart, 
and evils come and joys depart, 
because the Poitevan is dead. 

The praise is killed and all reclaim 

that always out of Poitou came. 

What mourning they in France proclaim! 

That I yet live is cause for shame. 

Oh, Lord, the baron whom I name, 

may he to Paradise be led. 

The Count of Poitou I lament, 
who was of merit complement; 
since charity and worth are spent, 
here I cannot be long content. 
Oh, Lord, do not his soul torment: 
the earthly life was good he shed. 

Glorious God, to you I call, 
who made this grief on earth befall: 
as we must die for Adam's fall, 
do not his soul with dread appall, 
with bonds of fire in Satan's thrall. 
This life has held us all misled. 

I hold this world as mean and vain, 
for good the poor nor rich attain. 
My noble friends have dead long lain 
while we in wretchedness remain, 

Cercamon 13 

although we know that right will reign 
the day the Final Judgment's read. 

Noble Gascons, worthy your renown, 
you are deprived of honor's crown. 
Fierce you must be and meekness drown, 
since youth is wretchedly cast down, 
unwelcomed now in court or town, 
except from Alphonse, whom joy has fled. 

The French and Normans share our woe 
and well the Kin might sadness show 
on whom he did his lands bestow, 
and since his lands and honors grow, 
he would do well to riding go 
to strike the Saracens with dread. 

They may rejoice, his enemy 
in Engolmes and Limozi. 
If he could live and God agree, 
he would check their liberty, 
but he is dead and they left free. 
In Aunis there is dole instead. 

The plaint is made with words worked right 
by Cercamon, who grieves our plight. 
Our Gascon joy is put to flight; 
from Spain and Aragon goes delight. 
Saint James, remember you that knight 
for whom I kneel and prayers have said. 


True Love Warms My Heart 
Per fin amor mesjauzira 

True love 
warms my heart, 

14 Provence 

no matter if he run hot or cold. 

My thoughts attract on her always, 

but can't know yet 

if I can finish the job, stay 

firm with joy, that is 

if she wants to keep me hers 

which my heart most desires. 

I quit all lords and all ladies 

if she wants me to serve her in it: 

and who speaks to me of separation 

will have me die tonight. I 

place my hope in no other one, 

sunup, sunset, night or day, 

my heart dreams no other happiness. 

I'd hardly have spoken out so soon 

if I'd known how hard she softened. No 

thing but does not humble itself toward Love — 

her? she is fierce toward him! 
But a lady can have no valor, not 
by riches and not by power, if 
the joy of Love blow not within her. 

I'd not leave her feet, if it pleasure her 

if she consent to it. 

If she wanted to she could enrich me, saying 

she were my woman. 

All the rest whatever, at her pleasure, 

were it truth or lies, no matter, 
that word 

would be all the wealth I'd need. 

I've sat between joy and pain since 
goodbyes were said, for I've not seen 
her since that day. She said if I loved her 
she would love me. Beyond that, I 
know nothing of her intent. 
But she ought to know well enough that I 
will die if she keeps me in torment. 

Marcabru 15 

The fairest woman ever used a mirror never 
saw anything soft and white as ermine, 

as she is, 
fresher than lily or rose — any flower! 
And nothing makes me despair more. God! 

may I enjoy the hour 
when I can make love-play beside her! 
No. I, no. She does not turn toward me. 

My lady would fill to overflow 

all my desires, if she but now 

would grant — if only one — to 

ease me, just one kiss. 

How I'd fight then! 

war against any neighbor, give largely, 

make myself feared and know, hurl 

enemies down, keep my possessions, my 

goods, my own. 

And may my lady know that, for my part, 

no man of my rank could serve her 

with better heart. 

And if she pleasure me next her, 
if she let me lie next to her level, 
sure I would not die of this evil. 



In April around Easter the Streams Grow Clear 
En abriu s'esclairo il riu contra'l Pascor 

In April around Easter the streams grow clear 

and in the groves, leaves burgeon above the blossoms. 

Gentle, with gentle pleasure, gently 

Pure Love comforts me. 

Who has an acknowledged lover of one sort 
should take him as white if he be not rubbed dark: 

1 6 Provence 

pied love, always, the best I can see it 
being traitor from habit. 

Pretends it's good bettering itself, gently 
serving, while evil is what it's after. When 
favor's given you'll see the heads broken 
in many places, and muddied reputations. 

God down and damn eternally pied love and curse forever 
all it stands for! The drunk at least takes pleasure 
in his letch — though if he drink too much 
it drains his vigor. 

If my love will disbelieve the muck that liars 
make and snakes construct, my garrulous accusers, 
I'll be hers if she wants me, 
without loud-talk or falsity, 
without lies or illusions. 

But she doesn't believe me. I waste my time 
reproaching her without a belt. 
She makes her peace with hell and helling: 
so the tongue turns toward the swelling 
tooth, where the pain is felt. 

Three of them pass before where I sit in the passage : I'm silent 

until the fourth has finished fucking her and the fifth 

comes tearing up. 

That's where Amor is now, in foulness and filth. These cunts 

are nymphos in bed 

seducers when they talk 

and thieves when they sleep, 

and these male sluts not only want their piece — 

but some back in theirs as well, and the best thing! 

how shepherds make it with a sheep . . . ka . . 

how describe this "culture"? 

Marcabru 17 

He takes the skin off a hard bird, who flays 
and skins a vulture . . . 


No Doubt At All, I'll Take Him on as Critic 

Per savi'l tenc ses doftansa 

No doubt at all, 
I'll take him on as critic, 
who'll call the meaning, in my song, 
of each word, 
who's analytic, who 

can see the structure of the vers unfold. 
I know it'll sound absurd, but 
I'm often doubtful and go wrong myself 
in the explication of an obscure word. 

These simple-minded troubadours get off 

on tangents which have the excellent merit 

of leading nowhere. 

And they turn into compulsion what 

plain truth has accorded them. 

Out of what truth has set in order, they 

make compulsory laws 

and by a certain reflection 

they fit their words to fill the chinks and flaws. 

Without demarcation 
they set Love and the several ways 
of letching-af ter-love on equal footing. 
And he who's on the make for simple bedding 
will find it is himself he covers up. 
When his purse is empty as a street in winter 
he'll see the sport of sledding hard 
will serve for consolation. 

1 8 Provence 

I get sore and I show it, when I hear 
from some poor sonofabitch that Love 
has misled and betrayed him, when 
it's lechery has thrown him out. 
It's to themselves such lovers lie, 

for a lover's treasure 
is in measure, patience, and in Joy. 

Some couplings make known 
when two paths join and do not redivide, 
that of two desires, one 
will may be made, 
and Fine Love walk beside 
and live and stay 
where trust lives, within 
the honest loving whiteness of their days. 

For Love has the sign 
of emerald and sard, 
is Joy's peak and basis, 
and of Truth, the teacher, 
and has power over 
every creature. 

To judge from the semblance 
when he speaks acts, Love 
arises from the heart of things 
when he lays down his gage and does 
not qualify his giving for a rule. 
The man who does not advance 
straitly toward Love 
's a fool. 

But it is not worth an egg, my preaching at him, whose 

already miserable heart is strapped by madness. 

For I, too, think that sensual love 

proceeds from the affections, 

although too often it proves false and thieving. 

Marcabru 19 

The fool sings out everything he has in mind. 

He follows no intelligence but 

tinkers the job and botches it: 

his love lives on a kind of extortion, 

his life is a constant makeshift. 

I agree on principle, then : love 

loves itself, 

constantly is steadfast, 

and probity has slimyness for breakfast. 

The end of this vers uncoils against 

and sets the weights to balance 

this vicious, villainous crew of mutts 

whose stars are red with malice, 

who puff themselves up with crazy thoughts 

and have great adventures summarily, 

that is, they decide to have them . . . 

May the thought that inflates them 
bring them bad luck only. 


Winter Goes and Weather Betters 
L'iverns vai el temfs saizina 

Winter goes and weather betters, 
hedgerows green, hawthorns flower, 
for which sensible reason the birds rejoice 

Even man grows gay with love 

each drawing toward his private choice 

pursuing his heart's pleasure. 

The cold and drizzle clink against 
the gentle season to arrest it. 

20 Provence 

From the hedges and from thickets 
I hear the lancing song contest it 

Put down my name in the entry-books, 
I'll sing of Love and how it goes, 

if I want to, and how it grows. 

Letching love gets started, then it grabs 

and cheats with a greedy, dire will. 
Had just once, a cunt's softness 

combusts, lights the damned traitorous fire 

And no one who falls into that blaze, 
if he really mean it, or just to try it 

will come out with his hair on Fridays. 

Fine Love carries a medicine 
intended to heal his companion. 
Lechery binds and cramps his well 
then shoves him down into a kind of hell 

Long as there's the smell of money 
it'll wear love's face both front and rear 
but when the cash runs low, you'll hear 
"the road, sonny, the road." 

Luring, enticing with sweet bait 
to get the poor gull into the trap 
until they have him, head and shoulders, 
signal "yes" while saying "no" : 

I prefer as lover a man who's dark 
or light-skinned, or nicely tanned, 
I'll make it with you — no I won't 

crazy for a skinny behind! 

Marcabru 21 

The lady doesn't know Love's face 
when she loves a servant of the house: 
and if he covers her at her will 
then it's the mongrel with the greyhound bitch 

That's how these rich alloys are got 
who will not lay out feasts or silver 

and it's Marcabru who says so. 

The guardian gets into the back 
and hurries to blow up the fire a bit, 
then drinks the smoke from the waterbutt 

of his Lady Goodandexcited. 

I know how well he rests when he lies down 
and gets the grain out of the sack 

and perpetuates his master's name. 

Who has Amor as a neighbor 
and lives on the allowance he gets, 
good name, spunk and integrity 
incline to him without complaint 

He who acts as straight as he talks 
will not have the same laments as 

sir Eglain, that balancing grain-sack. 

For myself, I hold no more 

with sir Eble's theory of trobar 
that's made a stack of foolish decisions 
and upholds them against all reason. 

I say, and've said, and will again: 
they feed us only rationalization. 
Love weeps to be differentiated 
from lechery. Plain, it's plain 

22 Provence 

that he who whines against Fine Love 
's a botch. Let him complain 


I'll Tell You in My Own Way 

Dirai vos en mon lati 

I'll tell you 

in my own way 

what I've seen 

and what I see. 
I think the world will hardly last 
according to scripture, for nowadays 
the son fails toward the father, 
father toward son equally. 

Youth, turned from the road toward full decline 
and Gift, who was his brother, 
slip off in the night together. 

And our sir Constans, the Great Deceiver, 
would never have missed them. 

Often, a rich man's bread and wine 
feed a bad neighbor, and if he 
has a hard face, it's sure to be 
a hard morning, if what the farmer 

says is true, 
or that's how the proverb goes. 

In the mill, the miller judges: 
"What's well bound should be well loosed." 
And the labourer behind his plowshare: 
"Good harvest comes from a good field" 
"Evil son from evil mother" 
"The lickorous mare breeds a mean- 
hearted little beast." 

Marcabru 2,3 

Two colts are born — mettlesome, handsome, 
with blond manes that will turn from 
blond to mouse and make them resemble two asses. 
Youth and Joy have turned into swindlers 
and Malice sent in as replacement. 

You married men, you act like goats. 
You plump the cushions up a bit, 
the cunts all wink and get undressed. 
But it cuts both ways — and when you say 

"My sons laugh at me" 
and youVe had nothing to do with it, 
that is, the birth of your sons, what goats! 
You have a spirit that would look better sheepish. 
Worth nothing to me to lecture at 'em. 
The errors they make are always the same. 
And one thing Marcabru's never seen, 
and that's these merry married men 

give up their cheating 

when love's the game. 

Always you cut instead of shaving, lads, 
when love's the game. 


Since My Courage Is Clarified 
Pus mos coratges s'es clartits 

Since my courage is clarified 
by the Joy I'm given, and I 
see Love parcel out and choose, 
wherein I hope to be a richness to her, 
I do a good job and winnow out my song 
so no one can put me in the wrong, 
since for a little thing 
a man can be contradicted when he sings. 

24 Provence 

The one whom Fine Love singles out 
lives happy, courteous and wise. 
And he to whom Joy is refused, is 
undone, sent out to ruin. For he 
who carps at Love is made to hang 
his mouth wide like a fool and think 
it was his own artifice destroyed him. 

Such are false-hearted judges, thieves, 
false-witnesses and cheating husbands, 
back-biters, painted-up young men, 
lip-servicers and convent-crackers, 
and these flaming whores who'll do 
agreeable things with other women's 
husbands, all will earn their hell. 

Homicides, traitors, the crud that sells 
church preferments, the magicians, 
usurers, in sex the aestheticians 
who make livings from their dirty trade, 
those who submit themselves to charms 
and the fetid hags who make them, will 
all share unrelenting flames. 

Seducers, drunkards, false priests, false 
abbots, nuns, the false recluse 
will get theirs then, says Marcabru. 
For each one has his seat reserved, 
Fine Love has promised it will be thus: 
great lamentation and gnashing teeth. 

noble Love, source of all giving, 

by whom the whole world is illumined, 

1 cry mercy! 

Keep these whiners from me! and 
may I be defended against the fire! 
On every side I hold myself your prisoner, 
and comforted by you in all things, hope 
that you shall be my guide and all my light. 

Jaufre Rudel 25 

With this vers I curb my heart 
and direct the reproach at myself, 
for he who would be a critic 
is in, if he can guard himself, not 
blot himself with the same crime 
he charges the lady with, and think 
he's in the right to rate her down. 

And if it is a well-chosen bit, 
what I know to say well, and say, 
he can if he like, remember it. 



When the Waters of the Spring 
Quan lo rius de la fontana 

When the waters of the spring 

Run clear once more, 

And the flower of the eglantine blooms, 

And the little nightingale on the branch 

Turns and repeats and modulates 

Its song, and refines it, 

It is right that I too should sing of my love. 

Love of a far-off land, 

For you my whole heart is aching, 

And I can find no relief 

Unless I hear your call 

To a sweet meeting of love 

In an orchard, or behind a curtain, 

With a beloved companion. 

Since always this chance is denied me, 
I do not wonder that I consume myself, 
For never, as God wills, 

2,6 Provence 

Was there seen a lovelier woman, 
Christian, Jewess, or Saracen, 
And the man is fed with manna 
Who with aught of her love is rewarded. 

The desire of my heart ever tends 

Toward her whom most I love, 

And I think that my wish abuses me 

When by its vehemence it deprives me of her; 

For more poignant than a thorn 

Is the pain that only joy can cure, 

And for that I ask no man's sympathy. 

Without brevet of parchment 

I send this song that we sing 

In plain roman language 

By Filhol to Don Hugo Brun : 

It is good to hear that the people of Poitou, 

Of Berry, and of Guyenne 

Rejoice because of him, and those of Brittany. 


When Days Grow Long in May 
Lanquan li jorn son lone en may 

When days grow long in May 

I like to hear the birds sing far away 

And when I leave or stray 

I bring to mind a loved one far away: 

Then I'm gloomy, pensive, and dismayed 

And then no song of birds or hawthorn spray 

Can please me more than winter's frozen gray. 

Indeed I deem the lord is true 

Through whom I'll view my loved one far away; 

And for one good that forces me to rue 

Jaufre Rudel 27 

I have two evils, for she's too far away. 
Ah, were I to tread the pilgrim's way 
Then I'd go with bell and cape 
To have her lovely pupils meet my gaze. 

What joy I'll have when first I say 

For love of God, lodge one from far away: 

And, if she please, I'll lodge and stay 

Near to her, though now I'm far away: 

Then sweet converse will hold sway 

When her distant lover stays 

So close, and speaks his praise! 

Sad and joyous, I'll slip from view 

If e'er I see her, my love from far away: 

But when I'll see her, I've no cue 

For our two lands are far away: 

As roads and byways wander, 

About it all I say: 

God's will be done, and praised! 

Ne'er in love can I be gay 

If I don't gain my love from far away, 

For nobler or better holds no sway 

In any place, though near or far away; 

So true in merit and in grace 

That I would go to Arrabace 

And be their captive, if she called! 

May God who made all walking, creeping things 

And formed this love from far away 

Give me power, for my heart stings 

To see my love from far away. 

Truly, when dwelling in that place 

My mind makes room and garden 

A palace to my gaze! 

He speaks true who calls me wilful 
Seeking love from far away: 

2,8 Provence 

For no happiness so thrills me 

As joy in love from far away 

But what I long for most, denies me 

For I bear a godsire's curse 

Who made me love though loveless in return. 

But what I long for most, denies me, 

So I curse the wicked godsire 

Who made me love though loveless in return! 


He Has Not Sung Who's Made No Sound 

No sap chantar qui so non di 

He has not sung who's made no sound, 
nor with no words, a verse begun; 
he cannot rhyme who can't expound 
the rules with which it must be done. 
For my songs — the more you hear them, 
the more, indeed, you will revere them. 

I have not lost my senses clean 

to love one I shall not behold : 

except for her I've never seen, 

my heart no joy of love can hold. 

No pleasures now can make me smile, 

and I cannot hope for help meanwhile. 

I die of wounds from blows of bliss, 
while stings of love, which dry the flesh, 
my health and all my strength dismiss, 
and nothing makes my spirits fresh. 
I never knew such misery, 
for it is not right and should not be. 

I never slept with so much ease, 
my soul and body far apart, 

Bernart de Ventadorn 29 

and my great grief beyond the seas, 
because I lay without my heart. 
But in the morning when I waken, 
by all my peace am I forsaken. 

I'll never hold her in embrace 
and she will have no joy of me; 
I'll not be blessed with her good grace 
or promised that I yet may be. 
She tells me nothing false nor true, 
and both, I think, she will not do. 

My song is good, without mistake: 
each word is in its proper place. 
My messenger will dare not break 
it up or any lines deface, 
so Bertran and the Count Toulouse 
may hear it sung without abuse. 

My song is good and soon will bring 
delight to those who like to sing. 



Friend Bernard de Ventadorn 

Amies Bernartz de Ventadorn 

Friend Bernard de Ventadorn, 
Why have you stopped singing 
When the nightingale's cry rings 
From day to night to morn? 

Listen to his happy refrain! 
All-night song, with flowers too. 
He knows more about love than you. 

Peter, I'd rather sleep and rest 
Than listen to a nightingale. 

30 Provence 

Certainly you'll never rail 
Me back to love's foolishness. 

Thank God I escaped those chains! 
Though you and other fine men who love 
Carry on like turtledoves. 

Bernard, it's neither kind nor right 
For a man to lose love's grip. 
Forget about your hardships. 
Love, more than any other delight, 

Compensates for its pains. 
No good comes without some sorrow. 
Today's tears dry joyously tomorrow. 

Peter, if I'd the world two years or three 
To do with exactly as I please, 
This is how I'd treat the ladies: 
No man would ever grovel on his knees, 
And women would be so pained 
They'd perform all love's tasks, 
Throwing us what we want — unasked. 

Bernard, how could you be so cruel 
To make them beg? Better a man 
Plead or clamor for what he can. 
Why, I believe that any fool 

Who seeds a sandy plain 
Is better than some lady-hater 
Dumbly following the wrong cher maitre. 

Peter, my heart beats sadly 
When I think how a woman's lies 
Killed me. She'd no reason why, 
For I never loved her badly. 

A love-fast I've maintained, 
Knowing that if I still don't eat, 
None of this pain will retreat. 

Bernard, you're folly's slave, 

For the love you painstakingly flee 

Fathers all worth and integrity. 

Bernart de Ventadorn 31 

Peter, a man who loves is depraved, 

For the sweet cheats have conspired to destroy 

All worth and integrity and joy. 


When I See the Skylark Winging 
Can vex la lauzeta mover 

When I see the skylark winging 

Joyfully toward the sun, how 

Her heart filled with tender feelings 

She freely, easily glides 

Ah! I overflow with envy 

For all those who are joyous! 

How I marvel that my heart 

Does not forthwith burst with longing. 

Alas! I who thought I knew love 
Barely do know love at all! 
For I cannot keep from loving 
One whose gifts I'll never share; 
She has stolen from me my self 
My heart, and my whole world; 
When she smote me thus she left 
But my longing and desire. 

No longer was I my own master 
Nor from that time ever free 
Since she granted me a glance 
From her eyes that mirrored joy. 
Glass, since I saw my reflection 
My heart's deep sighs left me dying, 
For I have lost myself as once 
Fair Narcissus in the fountain. 

Women bring to me despair; 
Nevermore will I trust them; 

3 2 Provence 

As much as I used to adore them 

Nor will I abhor them 

For no one will ever save me 

From her who confounds me and slays me; 

All fill me with doubt and with fear, 

For well I know that thus they are. 

In this my lady proves to be 

True woman, so I tell this tale; 

She does not wish what she should want 

And does what is forbidden her. 

I have fallen into disfavor, 

Behaved like a fool on a bridge, 

And know not why this befell me. 

Perhaps the prize was too lofty. 


Fair Now to Behold the Outgreening 
Can Verba fresctie'lh folha par 

Fair now to behold the outgreening 
Of woodland fresh and green 
With tender branches outleaving 
While the nightingale under the leaf 
Pours forth his longing and grief; 
Yet might I find joy in grieving 
If she were at one with my willing 
Who knows my heart and my will. 

Heart is hers although she be prideful 
To one who ne'er showed her pride; 
She must know I am hers for the taking 
Whom I would so lovingly take; 
All else I will gladly forsake 
So I be by her unforsaken, 
And my heart is hers for the holding 
If only her love I may hold. 

Bernart de Ventadorn 33 

I hold to her love that binds me; 
Aye, cruelly love's fetters bind; 
For she is wont to accuse me 
Whereof she does ill to accuse; 
She errs but I freely excuse; 
How could I forbear from excusing 
When she is so fair and so kindly 
That even her wounding is kind? 

Sweet wounds yet not easy of healing 
Though hers is the power to heal : 
Let her lend me her lips for the sharing 
Of the draught my soul would share — 
Alas, this were too much to dare 
And she chides me for overdaring, 
Wlien I would go thus discoursing, 
And bids my verse alter its course. 

Verse then must needs go veering 
But from her I shall never veer 
For my heart is fixed and desirous 
Of her, past all other desire 
And for her love alone I sigh 
While she, a stranger to sighing, 
Proves that my death I am seeking 
When her beautiful face I seek. 

Death must come of it and not joy 
Since I may not hope for enjoyment 
Yet my hope is that service painful 
May with love's help solace my pain. 


It Is Worthless to Write a Line 
Chantars no pot gaire voter 

It is worthless to write a line 

if the song proceed not from the heart: 

34 Provence 

nor can the song come from the heart 
if there is no love in it. 

Maligning fools, failing all else, brag, 
but love does not spoil, 
but countered by love, fills, 
fulfilling grows firm. 
A fool's love is like verse poor in the making, 
only appearance and the name having, 
for it loves nothing except itself, can 

take nothing of good, 

corrupts the rhyme. 

And their singing is not worth a dime 

whose song comes not from the heart. 

If love has not set his roots there 

the song cannot put forth shoots there: so 

my song is superior, for I turn to it 

mouth eyes mind heart 

and there is the joy of love in it. 

And the binding glance is food for it 

and the barter of sighs is food for it 

and if desire is not equal between them 

there is no good in it. 

God grants me no strictness to counter my desire 
yet I wonder if we afford its acceptance, 
responsible for what we have of it. Though 

each day goes badly for me. 
Fine thought at least will I have from it 

though no other thing: 
for I have not a good heart and I work at it, 
a man with nothing. 

Yet she has made me rich, a man with nothing. 
Beautiful she is and comely, and the more 
I see her openness and fresh body, the more 

I need her and have smarting. 
Yet so seldom her fine eyes look on me 

Raimbaut d'Aurenga 35 

one day must last me a hundred. 

Yet her fine body — 
when I gaze on it, I 
grow like a canso, perfect. 
And, if desire is equal between us 
and the darkness enters my throat? 



Full Well I Know How to Speak of Love 

Assatz sai d'amor ben farlar 

Full well I know how to speak of love 

For the good of other lovers, 

But for my own good, which means more to me, 

I can find no word to say. 

For neither presents nor praise, 

Nor curses nor hard words avail me, 

Yet I am true to love, 

Sincere and frank and loyal, 

So I shall teach the art of love 
To other good lovers of women, 
And if they follow my instructions, 
I shall make them conquer in a trice 
As many hearts as they desire — 
And let him go hang or burn 
Who believes not what I say, 
For all honor shall come to those 
Who hold the key to this art. 

If you wish to win women, 

And when you want them to do you honor 

They give you a discourteous answer, 

Turn at once to menaces, 

And if that does not improve their manners, 

36 Provence 

Land them a fist across the nose. 
If they are rude with you, be rude — 
Through sheer brutality you will gain peace. 

And now I shall show you further 

How to conquer the most difficult — 

Make bad verses and sing them yourself 

As badly as you can, with much self-vaunting; 

Honor the worst of them the most, 

And make them for their faults equal to the best; 

And see that your houses 

Seem neither like churches nor ships. 

In this way you will gain your desire, I think, 

But I shall behave very differently, 

For I care nothing for women's love, 

And I shall never change my ways 

On their account, any more than if they were all my sisters, 

Therefore I shall ever be true and loving to them, 

Humble, simple, and loyal, 

Sweet, tender, sincere and faithful. 

But be sure to keep away from this, 

For what I do is purest folly, 

Do not do what seems sheer madness, 

But cherish my teaching carefully 

If you desire not to suffer pain, 

Grief and long weeping: 

For I too would be cruel and contrary with them 

If their houses pleased me more. 

But I have certainly the right to mock them, 

Since I — and it is a great dishonor to me — 

Love none, nor even know what love is. 

Only my ring I love, which keeps me pure, 

For it was on the finger — now, voice, you go too far! 

Tongue: no more! For too much talk 

Does more harm than mortal sin, 

Wherefore I shall keep my heart locked up. 

Raimbaut d'Anrenga 37 

But my Bel-Jongleur will easily know, 
For it is of such worth and is so dear to me, 
That no harm will ever come to me from it. 
And she will have my song, which now I end, 
At Rodez, where I was born. 


My Lords, I Pray You Now, Give Ear 

Escotatz, mas no say que s'es 

My lords, I pray you now, give ear, 

Though I don't know and cannot guess 

What sort of thing I've started here — 

Vers, estribot, or sirventes, 

It's none of these: it has no peer, 

Nor any ending, I confess, 

Save such an one as never yet was used by man or woman of 

this age or of 
the other that has ended. 

You'll think me mad if I express 

This strange desire but, never fear, 

I shall conclude it none the less: 

I value what I see and hear, 

And all the rest is foolishness — 

It isn't worth a sou, that's clear, 

And I shall tell you why: Because once I began this thing for 

you, if I 
didn't bring it to an end, you would take me for an idiot. And 

rather have a sixpence in my fist than a thousand pounds in 

the sky. 
Fear not to do what may distress 
Me, friend, but be sincere, 
And if this day you're powerless 
To help, help me another year. 

38 Provence 

For none will cheat me, so I guess, 
As she has whom I hold most dear: 
All this I say because of a lady who makes me languish with 

fine words 
and long delays, I really don't know why. Can she be good for 

me, my masters? 

A good four months have passed — Oh yes, 

To me each moment seems a year — 

Since first, in all her loveliness, 

She told me what I wished to hear. 

Since all my heart you now possess, 

Ah, lady whom I most revere, 

Why not make sweet my bitterness? 

God, help me! In nomine patris et plii et spiritus sanctil Lady, 

how is 
it to be? 

You make me gay in my distress: 

Small wonder that my song is queer. 

And from those three, quite pitiless, 

You sever me, whose only peer 

You are. So strongly you possess 

Me that a jongleur I appear: 

Lady, you may do as you like about it, as Lady Ayma did with 

the shoulder 
which she stuck wherever it pleased her. 

My what-you-call-it's done, I guess; 

No other name will do, that's clear — 

No other poet or poetess 

Has ever written aught so queer — 

And may he sing it with success 

Who likes to learn this sort of gear, 

And if anyone should ask him who made it, he may say that it 

was one who 
can do whatever he wishes, once he puts his mind to it. 


Beatritz de Dia 39 


I Dwell in Deep Anxiety 

Estat ax en greu cossirier 

I dwell in deep anxiety 

for a knight who gave himself to me; 

it would have done him ease to see 

I loved him clear to piety. 

I know now I myself deceived 

when I did not give myself to him 

and now indeed my days are dim : 

my grief will not be soon relieved. 

I wish my knight might share my bed 

and hold me naked in his arms, 

that now he might win joys for harms, 

with me the pillow for his head. 

I am more enamoured of this man 

than any famous lovers cast apart. 

I make him master of my love and heart, 

my senses, life and all I can. 

My good and goodly well-loved friend, 
when will I hold you in my power? 
That I might lie with you one hour 
and kiss you 'til my life would end! 
How I feel the lovers' fire 
to hold you in my husband's place, 
if only you would swear with grace 
to do whatever I desire. 


4Q Provence 


Watchman on the Tower, Watch with Care 
Gaita ben, gaiteta del chastel 

Watchman on the tower, watch with care, 
For she who is my truest and most fair 

Lies with me till the dawn. 
The day approaches, uninvited, 
And the new joy in which I have delighted 
Is stolen by the dawn, yes, the dawn. 

Watch us well; do not forget to warn 
My dearest love and me, when it is morn. 
How I resent the dawn! 
And when the sun has risen high, 
I curse the day that made me bid goodbye 
More keenly than at dawn, yes, the dawn. 

Watchman on the tower, do not tire. 
Preserve us from my lady's jealous sire, 

More dreadful than the dawn; 
Keep him from us while we sigh 
Of love's sweet tenderness, for she and I 
Are fearful of the dawn, yes, the dawn. 

God above! No longer may I stay; 
Despite myself I must be on my way. 
I cannot face the dawn 
Whom I see rising at his leisure. 
For none delights at cheating lovers' pleasure 
More than perfidious dawn, yes, the dawn. 


Giraut de Bornelh 41 

High Waves That Ride the Sea 
Altas undas que venez suz la mar 

High waves that ride the sea 
That makes the wind shift to and fro 
Do you bring me news how my lover 
Passed you by? I don't see him return. 

And oh, God of love, 
Now he gives me joy and now it's pain. 

Oh sweet breeze that rides from where 
My lover dwells and sleeps and fares, 
Bring me a wisp of his sweet breath : 
My mouth I open, great desire have I, 

And oh, God of love, 
Now he gives me joy and now it's pain. 

Bad love comes from foreign soldiers 
Turning bliss and smiles to tears; 
I never thought mine would desert me 
For I gave him all in love he wished, 

And oh, God of love, 
Now he gives me joy and now it's pain. 



Heavenly King, Glorious God of Light 
Reis glorios, verais lums e clartatz 

"Heavenly King, glorious God of light, 
Look down with kindly favor, if you will, 
Upon my friend who, with his lady, still 
Reposes. There has he been all the night, 
And soon it will be dawn. 

42 Provence 

"Good friend, if you are sleeping or awake, 
Gently arise and sleep no more. Afar, 
The East is brightened by the morning-star, 
Bringing the day, unless I much mistake; 
And soon it will be dawn. 

"Good friend, I sing to you this eager warning; 
I fear your lady's lord will soon appear. 
Already in the forest I can hear 
A song-bird's love-call to his mistress morning, 
And soon it will be dawn. 

"Good friend, look out and let the signs of day — 
The fading stars — prove I have not been lying. 
Heed to my word, the night is quickly dying, 
For yours will be the grief if you delay 
And soon it will be dawn. 

"Good friend, since first you left to undertake 
Your amorous night, I have not slept, but stay 
Upon my knees, and reverently pray 
Our Lord protect you for my friendship's sake; 
And soon it will be dawn. 

"Good friend, why did you earnestly implore me, 
Upon the terrace, not to yield to sleeping"? 
Throughout this night gladly have I been keeping 
A faithful watch. Why do you now ignore me? 
And soon it will be dawn. 

"Good friend and true, now taste I such delight 
That nevermore wish I to see the morn. 
The fairest creature e'er of mother born 
Lies in my arms. Thus care I not a mite 
For jealous sire nor dawn." 


Peire Vidal 


When I Breathe This Air 
Ah Valen tir vas me Voire 

When I breathe this air, 

It is the scent of Provence that I bring to my nostrils: 

All that comes from there delights me, 

And when I hear good things said of it, 

I stop and smile with pleasure, 

And for each word I ask a hundred, 

Such pleasure it gives me to hear of it. 

For there is no land more lovely 

Than the land which stretches from Vence to the Rhone, 

Whose borders are washed by the Durance and the sea, 

Nor is there any land which sparkles with such true joy. 

And that is why I have left my heart to rejoice 

Among those joyful people, 

With her who brings laughter even to the afflicted. 

For no one can be sad on the day 

When her face comes to his mind, 

And in her alone joy is born and has its beginning. 

And whoever speaks of her worth, 

No matter how high his praise, he does not lie, 

For without doubt, she is the best 

And most beautiful of all who live on this earth. 

And if I am able to say or do anything well, 

It is thanks to her, for it was she 

Who gave me the knowledge and the understanding 

That makes me a poet of love. 

And when I consider carefully, 

44 Provence 

Whatever I do that is beautiful 

Is but a reflection of her charm and her beauty. 


My Lord Dragoman, If I Had a Good Steed 

Dragoman senher, s agues bon destrier 

My lord Dragoman, if I had a good steed 
My enemies would be in a desperate plight, 
For the instant they hear me mentioned 
They fear me worse than the quail the hawk, 
And they value their lives at not a denier 
So proud and savage and fierce they know me. 

When I lace up my strong double hauberk 

And buckle on the brand that Don Guy just gave me, 

The earth trembles where I tread, 

And there is no enemy so haughty 

Who does not at once clear the way for me, 

So much they fear me when they hear my step. 

In courage I equal Roland and Oliver 

And in courtesy Berard de Montdidier, 

And my prowess is such and I have such praise 

That often messengers come to me 

With a gold ring, with a black and white cordon, 

With greetings such that they fill my heart with joy. 

In all things I show myself a knight, 
And so I am, and know all the mastery of love, 
And all that belongs to courtship, 

For never in a chamber have you seen such a delightful man, 
Nor with arms in his hand one so terrible and fierce, 
Wherefore those love me and fear me who have never seen me 

nor heard me speak. 

Peire Vidal 45 

And if I had a good courser, 

Tranquil the King should lie beyond Balaguer, 

And he should sleep long and sweedy, 

For I would keep the peace at Montpellier and in Provence 

So that neither brigands nor savage riders 

Should waste his lands at Autaves nor Crau. 

And if the King comes to the gates of Toulouse along the river 

And the Count issues forth with his wretched archers 
Who all day long shout "Aspa!" and "Orsau!" 
I dare boast that I shall strike the first, 

And I will do so much that they will run back in twice as many 

as they came out, 
And I with them, unless they shut the gates against me. 

And if I come upon a Jealous One or a lauzenjador, 

Those who with false tales seek to ruin those better than 

And in every way lessen the joy of life, 
In truth they shall see what blows I strike, 
For even if they have bodies of steel and iron, 
It will avail them no more than a peacock's feather. 

Lady Vierna, Mercy of Montpellier, 

Don Rainier, now you shall love your knight; 

And since through you my joy has grown, I praise God. 


Well Pleased Am I with the Gentle Season 
Be magrada la convinens sazos 

Well pleased am I with the gentle season, 
And pleased with the glorious summertime 
And pleased with all sweetly singing birds, 
And pleased with the flowerets in thickets, 

46 Provence 

And with all which delights the gentle people, 
And pleasant above all, all noble talk: 
Soon will good fortune grant me enjoyment, 
Where I willingly lay my heart and soul 

For love keeps me joyful and delighted, 
Love cradles me in her tender embrace, 
Love renders me both brave and valiant, 
For love am I pensive and reflective; 
For love am I so strongly enamored 
That all my desires are fashioned of love, 
For love I admire courtesy and youth, 
Love dictates all my deeds, all my words. 

Joyful, fair lady, when I think on you, 
Joyful am I under your dominion, 
Joyful with your noble virtues praised, 
Joyful with your handsome bearing. 
Joyful to behold your perfect beauty 
And joyful when I am wholly your slave, 
Joyful that my thoughts are only of you 
And joyful that I love no one but you. 

May God protect you, fair and noble one, 
But damn the vicious and the envious, 
God protect me, whom you have made humble, 
But confound the slanderous and jealous. 
God save the valiant, courteous, esteemed, 
But confound the wicked and importunate, 
May God save all who love with perfect love, 
But confound all the allies of ennui. 

Fair dame, I long to see you again, 
Fair dame, that I can think on nothing else, 
Fair dame, you can make me feel so wretched, 
And it please you, richer than King Alfonse. 
Noble lady, you hold me so in thrall, 
Lady, that all will has forsaken me; 

Peire Vidal 47 

Oh bear these feelings gently if you please, 
And thus, Oh fairest dame, please pity me. 

With you is love's sovereign and perfect joy, 
Joy which revives all good and gracious things, 
No other joy can equal the delight, 
Of your joy which makes all the world joyous. 
Near you is joy born, from you radiates, 
It is joy which rejuvenates the world, 
And I am filled with great joy to recall 
The joy of you and your beautiful self. 


I Put an End to Singing 
De chantar m'era laissatz 

I put an end to singing 
Out of my grief and sadness 
My lord, the count, bequeathed, 
But since the king desires it 
I'll quickly make a song 
For William and Sir Blascol 
To take to Aragon 
If they deem the music worthy. 

And if I sing like one obliged 
Because my lord desires it 
Don't despise my song 
For my heart has turned away 
From her who won't reward me 
And robs me of my hope : 
And how the parting hurts me 
God alone can know. 

I've been tricked and duped 
The way good servants are 

48 Provence 

For I am thought a fool 
— An honor, I suppose — 
And similar reward 
I wait, for if I'm hers 
Then I'll count myself 
More lowly than a Jew. 

I gave myself to one 
Who lives on joy and love 
On merit and great valor 
Whence beauty is refined 
Like gold, in searing flame: 
For it seems the world is mine 
And kings hold fiefs from me. 

I'm crowned by perfect joy 

Above all emperors 

For I love a viscount's daughter 

So much, that just a ribbon 

My lady might bestow, 

I'd count as worlds more precious 

Than King Richard would three towns. 

And though some call me wolf 
I don't feel it's a slur 
Nor if the shepherds hunt me 
Or chase me with their shouts; 
For I'll take woods or bushes 
To palace or to home 
And joyously I'll meet her 
Mid ice or wind or snow. 

The She- Wolf says I'm hers 
And has good grounds and cause 
For, on my faith, I'm hers 
More than others' or my own. 
Fair Sambelin, for you 
I love Saut and Uisson 
And Alion, as well, 

Peire Vidal 49 

But gazed on you so briefly 
That now I'm sad and grieved. 


It'll Be a Long Time Again before My Friends 
Tart mi vieran met amic en Tolosa 

It'll be a long time again before my friends 
In Toulouse see me, and long also 
Before I see Montreal or Puy, 
For I'm staying here with en Barral, 
Mon Bel Rainier: here's ambience 

And security. 

But Loba! 

Because my eyes 
Cannot contain you in their compassing, 
They are blurred and wet — my heart 
Sighs after you, remembering 

The slender body on you, 

The soft stroke of your voice, 
A smile 

Your face wore once — 

Your name is such the best are envious, and 

You can afford to let their bitchery run. 

Your welcomes are so greatly prized, men come 

Only to hear and see. Beauty's dress 
Is your soft speech and youth, your insolent 

Vigor, and your balanced mind. 

Na Raimbauda, at Biolh I'm fixing to 
Take a garden and a house for hire. 

To be near 

Her I most desire. Among 
Such mountains, who can recall the plain? 
Lady, lovely lady, how I love you! Life 

50 Provence 

's nothing without you, death more than life. 
May clemency and mercy come upon you, 
For my heart's in you, and all my desire. 

Lady, when I was within your hall, 

It seemed St. Julian must have been my host. 

God never made such a perfect day 

As you formed of that day with your hand. 

In your making He made no mistake; 

Such arms were cast only to kill me, sure. 

I trust your excellence is too good a thing, 

But even if you killed me, 

It'd be my honor, 

And if I died, 
I could only die praising, and rejoicing. 



I Have Made a Sirventes in Which 

No Word Is Missing 

Un sirventes cui motz no falh 

Bertran de Born, as I have said to you in other razos, had a 
brother who was called Constantine de Born, who was a good 
knight-at-arms, but not a man to concern himself overmuch with 
honor and valor. Indeed, he always hated Bertran and loved all 
those who wished en Bertran ill. Once he seized the castle of 
Altafort, which belonged to them both in common, and en Ber- 
tran recovered it, likewise by force of arms, and chased him out. 

Then Constantine went to the viscount of Limoges and asked 
that he be upheld against his brother. And he upheld him. King 
Richard also upheld him against en Bertran. Now Richard was, 
at that time, warring with Aimar, the viscount of Limoges. But 
Richard and Aimar turned their wars against Bertran, ravaging 
and burning his fields. 

Bertran had made swear together the viscount of Limoges 

Bertran de Born 51 

with the count of Perigord who was called Talairan from whom 
Richard had taken the city of Perigord without having put him- 
self in any danger since Talairan was soft and lazy. Richard 
had also seized Gourdon from Guilhem de Gourdon, who had 
promised to swear with the viscount and with Bertran de Born 
and other barons of Perigord, Limousin, and Quercy; all of 
whom Richard had despoiled, for which reason Bertran blamed 
him exceedingly; and for all these reasons (razos), made the 

I have made a sirventes in which no word is missing 

and it never cost me a garlic. 
And I have learned such cunning, that if I have 

a brother, say, 
or a cousin 
or a second cousin, 
I'll split the last egg and the half-denier. 

But then if he wants my portion 

I'll run him out of the county! 

I hold my wits under lock and key these days, 
they've gotten me into such scrapes with both 

Aimar and Richard. 
For a long while those two have kept me worried, 

but now, 
they've got such a scrap going between them that 
if the king doesn't separate them, 
they'll have the profit from it — 
each with a knife in his guts. 

William of Gourdon, you've put a hard 

clapper in your bell 

and I must say 
you ring it hard, which is crazy. 
But God keep me, I am fond of you. 
And the two viscounts hold vou a fool 

and laughing-stock 
on account of the treaty: yet they long 
you were in their brotherhood. 

52 Provence 

Day long I dispute and contend with myself, 
defend and attack and struggle within : 

while men destroy 
my lands and my stratagems 
make deserts of my orchards, 


the grain with straw. 
There is neither bold enemy nor cowardly foe of mine 

who does not assault me. 

Day long I re-sole and re-shape the barons, 
recast and unite them, 

thinking to get them into the field. 

I'm a fool to bother with 'em — 
badly made, the most meager workmanship, 
as split as the chain of Saint Leonard — 
a man would be mad to concern himself. 
Talairan does not leap nor trot 
nor stirs him out of his district. 
He hurls neither lance nor dart 
and lives the life of a Lombard. 
He is so stuffed with sloth that 

when alliances break up 
he yawns, and stretches himself. 

At Perigord, near to the wall, 

close enough for a man to throw a mace > 

astride Bayart, I shall come 


And if I find fat Poitevins, they 

shall see how my steel cuts! 
brains mixed with armor, a red mud smearing their heads! 

God save you and keep you baron, 
and aid you and prosper you. 
May it be granted you tell Richard 
what the peacock tells the jackdaw. 


Bertran de Born 53 

If All the Grief and Sorrow, the Strife 
Si tuit li dol elh flor e'lh marrimen 

If all the grief and sorrow, the strife, 
The suffering, the pains, the many ills 
That men heard tell of in this woeful life 
Assembled, they would count as nil 
Compared to the death of the young English king 
Who leaves behind youth and worth in tears 
In this dark world beset with shadowy fears, 
Lacking all joy, abounding in doleful spite. 

Grievous and sad, sensing the bitter wrong, 
Stand his noble soldiers, left behind; 
His troubadours, his jongleurs sing no song, 
For death's bereft the warrior from mankind. 
Still they salute their young English king, 
Who makes the generous seem steeped in greed. 
He never did, nor will he now, take heed 
To repay this wicked world its tearful spite. 

O boundless death, abounding yet in pain, 
Brag, brag that you've got the finest cavalier 
Who ever stalked upon this broad terrain, 
Who, needing nothing, never knew his peer, 
For peer there never was to that English king. 
God, it's more just, if ever you would grant: 
Let him live, instead of all those tvrants 
Who never pay with worth — just doleful spite. 

Since love now flees this jaded age, down-weighed 

By grief, I consider all its joys a lie, 

For nothing lasts that doesn't soon decay, 

The way tomorrow feels today slip by. 

Let everyone admire the young English king! 

Who in all the world of valiant men was best 

And bore his noble body lovingest: 

He's gone. What's left? Grief, discord, spite. 

54 Provence 

You, who desired to enter all this pain, 
To rid our world of its many waiting snares, 
To suffer death that we might live again — 
We cry out in your just and humble name: 
Show mercy upon our young English king! 
Pardon, if pardon pleases, toward this end: 
That he may stand among his honored friends 
There where grief never goes — nor spite. 


Rassa Rises, Thrives, and Prospers 
Rassa, tan creis e monta e yoia 

Rassa rises, thrives, and prospers, 
She's void of all deceit 
And her merit troubles others 
Though none alone can harm her. 
The radiance of her beauty 
Wins champions to her cause 
(Though some may burn with pain) 
The best and those most prudent 
E'er maintain her praise 
And consider her most gentle, 
For her honor, she makes plain, 
Allows but one adorer. 

Rassa, fine, fresh lady, 
Young, spirited, and gay, 
Ruby, auburn tresses, 
Flesh, white hawthorn spray, 
Hard nipples, dimpled elbows, 
Her back, hot rabbit swayed; 
By her fine, fresh color, 
Her merit and her fame, 
And easy best they'll deem her 
(Those who know and claim) 
How madly I adore her. 

Bertram de Born 55 

Rassa, proud before rich lords 
Like some young haughty thing 
Who won't take Poitou or Tolosa 
Or Brittany, or Saragossa, 
Is so covetous of merit 
She's partial to poor knights, 
And since she made me counselor, 
I beg you, prize her love, 
And may she take a gentle vavassor 
To some mocking count or duke 
Who'd hold her in dishonor. 

Rassa, a stingy lord 

Who won't protect, confide, or spend, 

Who accuses guiltless men 

And, for mercy, won't forgive, 

Vexes me, and every person 

Who serves without reward. 

And rich nobles on the hunt 

Vex me, and the buzzards 

That boast of falcon flights 

(Among themselves, they never 

Speak a word of arms or love). 

Rassa, here's who you should like: 

A rich noble, not tired by war 

Who won't retreat when threatened 

Or till the battle's won. 

Better than hunters of birds or beasts 

Who can't win repute or lands 

Maurin made war on Sir Aigar, his lord, 1 

And won great fame and valor. 

The viscount defended his honor; 

The count tried to wrest it by force, 

And we'll see him at Easter, full of glory. 

Marinier, you're a man of honor, 2 

1 Aigar and Maurin = heroes of a Provencal chanson de geste. 
2 Marinier = King Henry 11 

56 Provence 

And we've changed our good 
Warlike lord for a jouster 
So I beg Golfier de la Tor 3 
Not to let my singing scare him. 

Papiol, take my song 

To the court of my bad Fair-Lord. 4 


About Two Kings I'll Write Half-a-Poem 

Miei sirventes vuolh far dels rets amdos 

About two kings I'll write half-a-poem 

For shortly we'll see which one has more knights; 

Brave Alfonso of the Castilian throne 

Is on the look for soldiers, if I hear right. 

Richard will let his gold and silver fight 

By the bushel and peck; to him's no great fuss 

To lavish and spend; who cares about trust? 

Why, war's more to him than a quail to a kite! 

If both these kings prove strong and hale 
Soon we'll see strewn on the grassy plain 
Helmets, swords, shields and mail, 
And bodies, spear-split from belt to brain, 
And stallions running unmounted, unreined, 
And many a lance through thigh and chest 
With tears and joy, sorrow and happiness. 
The loss'll be great; greater still the gain. 

Trumpets and drums, banners and flags, 
Standards and stallions of every hue 
Soon we'll see, as our great age drags 
The holdings from every usurious Jew. 

3 Golfier de la Tor = the troubador's nephew 
4 Fair-Lord = pseudonym for an unknown woman. 

Bertram de Born 57 

Down no highway will go no laden mule 
Trusting the day, no burgher unaskance, 
Nor any merchant heading out from France. 
No, he'll be rich who grabs as he chooses. 

If Richard comes, I'll put my faith in God: 
Either I'll live or lie hacked on the sod. 

And if I live, great will be my bliss; 
And if I die, thank God for what I'll miss! 


I Apologize, My Lady, Though Guiltless 
leu m'escondisc, domna, que mat no mier 

I apologize, my lady, though guiltless 

Of what slanderers accuse 

And pray no lies or discord 

Will move you, faithful, loyal, and true, 

Frank and humble, courteous and pleasing, 

From me, lady, nor let such things ensue. 

May one jess 1 destroy my sparrowhawk 

And my lanner be killed in my fist 

Torn and plucked before my eyes 

If I do not prefer sad thoughts of you 

To desire for any other 

And love they'd grant, or dalliance in bed. 

I plead guiltless, and more deeply 

For no cruder loss is borne, 

If ever I should fail you, although in thought alone, 

When alone with you in bedroom or in orchard 

May I be powerless in love 

And find I cannot serve. 

1 Jess — wrist thong 

58 Provence 

When I sit down to play at tables 2 
May I never win a fig 
May I never score a point 
And throw snake-eyes evermore 
If I have ever courted or pursued 
My lady, anyone but you. 

May my castle be divided 
With four owners to one tower 
May they never live in friendship 
And always need their bowmen 
Doctors, soldiers, gatemen, guards, 
If I ever longed to love another lady. 

May my lady leave me for another knight 
And I never know to whom to turn for help 
May the wind grow slack when I put out to sea 
And porters beat me up when I'm at court 
May I campaign, and be the first to run 
If he's not lied, who spread his rotten slander! 

With my shield aloft, I'll ride the storm 

Wearing hood and helmet backwards, 

With reins too short, not made to stretch, 

Long stirrups on a low-cut horse 

And at the inn, find a taverner: 

If he's not lied, who spread his rotten slander! 

If I had a high-flying duckhawk 

Fine and moulted and tame 

And able to seize any prey : 

Swans and cranes, and black and silver herons, 

Would I trade it for one badly moulted, 

A fat, queasy hen that can't fly? 

2 tables = backgammon 

Bertran de Born 59 

False, envious, perjured slanderers, 

Since you perturbed my lady 

I'd like it best if you'd just left me alone! 


Ah How I Like to See Great Power Pass 
Bel m'es quan vei chamjar lo senhoratge 

Ah how I like to see great power pass 
As young men gather in the estates of old 
And everyone — with babies by the mass — 
Bequeaths hope for a leader brave and bold. 
Then I think the age will soon renew 
Better than any flower or bird's refrain, 
For lords and ladies, knowing they are through, 
Allow the young to take up hope again. 

You can tell a lady's old by her balding hair. 

She's old, I say, when she hasn't any knight, 

Or if she takes her lovers by the pair, 

Old if she takes a lover full of spite. 

Old she is if she loves in her estate 

Or if she uses magic as a crutch. 

I call her old when jongleurs irritate, 

And certainly she's old if she talks too much! 

A lady's young when she values noble rank 

And likes good deeds whenever good's been done; 

I call her young if her heart's fine and frank 

And she casts no evil eye on valor won. 

She's young if she keeps her body well looked after, 

Young if she knows exactly how to behave. 

I call her young if gossip brings her laughter 

And if she knows how to keep her lover safe. 

A man is young if he'll risk his hard-won hoard, 
Young if he's ever suffered need or want. 

60 Provence 

I call him young if he spreads an expensive board 
Or if his gifts approach the extravagant. 
He's young when he burns all his chests of treasure 
And wars and jousts and hunts and rambles. 
He's young if he knows every woman's pleasure 
And young he is if he yearns to gamble. 

A man is old when he's scared to take a dare 

And stores away his bacon, wine and wheat. 

I call him old if he serves eggs and Bruyere 

On days when he and his friends are allowed meat. 

He's old if he shivers under a cape — and cloak — 

Old if he rides a horse he hasn't tamed, 

Old if a day of peace doesn't seem a joke 

Or if he runs away from a gory game. 

Arnold, jongleur, take my song "Young-Old" 
To Richard, let him watch it, see it's sung: 
I never cared a damn for gold that's old. 
I only prize my treasures when they're young! 


I'm Pleased When Gaudy Eastertime 
Bern flatz lo gais temfs de pascor 

I'm pleased when gaudy Eastertime 
Makes leaves and flowers sprout 
And pleased with all the happiness 
Of birds, who make their shout 

Resound throughout the grove 
And pleased when on the meadows 
I see tents and banners rise 

And much rejoice 
When on the plain I see 
Armed knights and horses camp. 

Bertran de Born 61 

And I'm pleased when scouts 
Make men and treasure flee 
And pleased when I see after them 
Great armored legions fend 

And I'm pleased within my heart 
When strong castles fight a siege 
And walls are torn and breached 

And I see the host ashore 
Fenced in by palisaded moats 
With fierce, close-driven stakes. 

And likewise I'm pleased by a lord 
Who's first in the attack 
And fearless, with armored horse 
Makes his vassals bold 

By dint of manly courage 
And when the fight's begun 
They follow and are brave, 
For no man wins his merit 
Till he's traded many blows. 

With maces, swords, with colored helms 
With crippled, broken shields 
We'll see the battle start 
With many vassals wounded 

Whose horses wander off 
From masters cut or dead. 
And when he joins the fight 

A man of noble peers 
Will only hack at head or arms 
For death's preferred to capture. 

I assure you, I have less liking 
For eating, drink, or bed 
Than I have for cries of "At 'em!" 
From either side, or neighing 

Empty horses in the shade 
Or cries of "Help me! Help!" 
When great and small in moats 

62 Provence 

Or pastures I see fall 

With agonizing flanks 

Pierced through by jagged shafts. 

Barons, pawn away 
Your castles, fields, and towns 
But never give up war! 
Now, Papiol, go quickly 
And tell Sir Yes-and-No 
We've had too much of peace! 1 



You See Me Like the Elephant 

Atressi com I'olifanz 

You see me like the elephant, 

who, when fallen, cannot rise 

'till his companions sound their cries 

to lift him with their voices force 

and I must hope for like recourse, 
for my offenses are of such extent, 
that, if the court with its accoutrement 
and loyal lovers with true worth gifted, 
will not raise me, I shall not be uplifted, 
though they might pity me and beg for mercy 
there were prayers nor reason has not yet helped me, 

If I cannot my joy acquire 

through the help they deign to bring, 

I nevermore my songs shall sing, 

for songs will no more be of use, 

and I shall live a life recluse, 
uncomforted, for so shall I desire. 
My life is now all agony and fire. 

1 Papiol is a jongleur; Sir Yes-and-No = King Richard the Lion-Hearted. 

Richart de Berbezilh 63 

For me all joy is grief and faith despair, 
and I am sadly nothing like the bear, 
who, beaten and treated without mercy, 
revives, grows fat and thrives more happily. 

Love has power on its side 

to pardon what I'm guilty of 

if I have sinned by too much love. 

Like Simon Magus when he claimed 

that he was Christ and stood unshamed, 
I too all sense of rightfulness defied. 
God humbled his audacity and pride, 
but love is that audacity I dared, 
so that for mercy's sake I should be spared; 
for there are times when justice must rule mercy, 
and times when reason means but cruelty. 

A sad complaint I must express 

against myself and restless prating. 

If I could take to imitating 

the phoenix bird, which burns to death 

and then arises with renewed breath, 
then I would burn, for I have such distress 
from all my lies and my deceitfulness. 
I would arise again in sighs and weeping 

there where youth and worth and beauty have their keeping 
and where, except for just a little mercy, 
dwells every charm and virtue there might be. 

I send my song to seek your ears. 

I may not come (nor am so bold) 

nor with straight eyes your face behold; 

I am so humbled and overcome 

with no excuse in Christendom. 
Better than Woman, whom I fled two years, 
I turn to you in misery and tears 
as turns the stag, when his strength gives out, 
to die at the sound of the huntsman's shout. 

64 Provence 

Lady, thus I turn and beg your mercy, 

but you can know none, if love has left you free. 



I Like Gayety and Horsing Around 
Molt mi flatz defortz e gaieza 

I like gayety and horsing around, good 
food, fine gifts, good tilting fields: 
I like a comely and courteous woman, 
one who's not too embarrassed to answer. 
And I like a rich and generous man 
who keeps his malice for his enemies. 

I like a man who calls me affably 

and unfastens his purse without having 

to be asked first, and a rich man who 

doesn't feel it's compulsory to dress me down, 

like to hear a man speaking up for me, like 

to fall asleep when it's thundering hard 

and to eat a fat salmon in mid-afternoon. 

And it relaxes me in summer to 
stretch out by a brook or fountain when 
the meadows are green and the flowers new 
and the birds all chirm and twitter: and then 
if my girl finds out where I'm holing up 
I turn her over and have a quick one. 

Bless them who give me a hearty welcome 
and don't go scrummaging for excuses. 
I enjoy the time I spend with my girl 
necking, and more if she wants to make it- 
Like to see my enemy lose a good thing 
and better if it's me who took it off him. 

The Monk of Montaudun 65 

And good companions please me fine 
when I'm surrounded by enemies, 
and I hear someone else speak my piece — 
and the buggers listened without budging. 


I Much Dislike, I Dare Avow It 
Fort m'enoia, so auzes dire 

I much dislike, I dare avow it, 

The man who talks much and does little; 

And the man who thinks only of slaughter 

I dislike, and the horse who leans on his bit; 

And I dislike, may God help me, 

The young man who bears too long 

A shield that has never felt a blow, 

And a bearded monk, and a chaplain, 

And the gossip with the filed tongue. 

And I hold that woman to be a bore 

Who is both poor and haughty, 

And the husband who dotes on his wife, 

Though she be heiress of Toulouse; 

And I dislike the knight 

Who is a braggart in a foreign land 

But without employment in his own 

Save to grind pepper in a mortar, 

Or to warm his feet by the fire. 

And I dislike profoundly 

The coward who bears a proud standard, 

And a wretched falcon chasing ducks on a river bank, 

And a little meat cooking in a great cauldron; 

And I dislike, by Saint Martin, 

Much water in a little wine; 

And when I meet a cripple on the road, 

66 Provence 

I dislike him, or a blind man in the morning, 
For I take little pleasure in their company. 

I dislike the fiddler who takes forever to tune his instrument, 

And meat which is cooked till it is tough, 

And a priest who lies and swears falsely, 

And an aged whore who survives her usefulness, 

And I dislike, by Saint Dalmatius, 

Men whose lot is above their merit; 

And to run on foot when the road is icy 

Or to flee on horseback, fully armed, 

I much dislike, and to hear people swearing at dice. 

And I dislike, by the eternal life, 

To dine without a fire in midwinter, 

And to stand a vigil when the north wind blows, 

And bears to my nose the smells of a tavern; 

And it mislikes me to the very heart 

When one who washes a chamber pot investigates the contents, 

And I dislike it greatly when I see an ugly man 

Who has a lovely wife 

And who neither offers nor gives me anything. 

And I dislike, by Saint Savior, 

To hear bad fiddling in a fine court, 

And to see too many heirs living on a narrow fief, 

And to see a bad lender lucky at dice. 

And I dislike, by Saint Marcel, 

A double lining in a single gown, 

And too many masters in one castle, 

And a rich man who has little joy, 

And in a tournament when they use darts and quarrels. 

And I dislike, so help me God, 

To see a long table with a short table cloth, 

And one who carves meat with scabby hands, 

And a heavy hauberk of untrustworthy mail, 

And I dislike waiting in a seaport 

When the weather is bad and it rains hard, 

Peirol and Dalfin 67 

And to see friends quarrel, 

I dislike it, and worse than death 

When I know it is all about nothing. 

And I will tell you what annoys me greatly: 

An old hen who struts about overdressed, 

Giving offense to poor wenches, 

And a young squire admiring his own legs; 

And I dislike, by Saint Aon, 

A broad woman with a narrow cleft, 

And a bad lord who shaves his serfs too closely: 

But in all the world I dislike nothing more 

Than to be sleepy when I cannot sleep. 

And there is another thing that I dislike: 

To ride in the rain without a mantle, 

And when I find a sow next to my horse 

Emptying his manger for him, 

And I am annoyed out of all measure 

By a saddle with a shaky tree, 

And a buckle without a prong, 

And a man who is mean in his own house, 

Who does nothing but make himself unpleasant. 



Dalfin, a Target for Your Bow 
Dalfi, sabriatz me vos 

"Dalfin, a target for your bow: 
Granted a lover fair and true 
Whose lady's wise and gentle too; 

Can you decide and fairly show 
If he loves more 

After he's had her or before? 

68 Provence 

Master, disclose to me your thought : 
I know in love's lore you're well taught." 

"Peirol, I'll give you swift reply: 

I know as each true lover knows 
That love with sweet possession grows; 

Here is a truth none may deny; 
And it is right 

That sharing love be love's delight; 

Indeed love must the act await 

Before it can grow strong and great." 

"Dalfin, this only I know well: 
A lover's longing has no end 
Until he lies with his sweet friend; 

Her favors his dark fears dispel 
But after — then, 

Such is the law of love with men, 

Desire accomplished, slaked at last, 

The finest hour of love is past." 

"Nay, nay, Peirol, mark you well this: 
A lover grows more ardent still 
And fixed more firmly in his will 

With the fruition of love's bliss, 
For after joy 

Love is a man, no more a boy; 

Bethink you of Lord Tristram dead 

With Iseult's love ne'er surfeited." 

"Dalfin, I hold Tristram's desire 

Was born of Brangwain's poisoned drink, 
That magic potion was, I think, 

His passion's sources, not love's true fire. 
I'll be much blamed, 

I know, by lovers who feel shamed 

By what I say in this debate 

But my opinions I must state." 

Guilhem de Cabestanh 69 

"Peirol, let's end our argument. 

You cannot doubt you're in the wrong 
Since in the burden of your song 

Defense of falsehood's evident. 
I'll not concede 

That playing on a lover's need 

Is like to whet his amorous thirst; 

Nay rather, love will weary first." 

"Dal fin, this far 
I'll yield to you: if love's gifts are 
A check to love, the lover wise 
Will surely such effect disguise." 

"Peirol, so well 
I know your story I can tell 
You but reveal your own false heart 
In here defending the worse part." 



The Sweet Softness with Which Love 

Serves Me Often 
ho dous cossire quern don amors soven 

The sweet softness with which love serves me often 

Makes me write much vers of you, my lady. 

I gaze imagining on your bright body, 

Desiring it more than I can let you know. 

Although I seem to swerve and stand aside 

It is for your sake, not to deny one whit 

That I supple and bend toward you in all love's ways. 

Too often, lady, I forget, and so 

Implore mercy and am forced to praise 

When beauty finds itself mere ornament. 

7<> Provence 

May the love you deny me hate me always 

If my heart ever turns to love another. 

Yet you've left me sadness, taken all my laughter, 

Stiffer suffering than I, no man can say 

He's felt, for, you, whom I most want 

Of anything on earth, I have to 

Disavow, deny, pretend 

I've fallen out of love, and all 

For fear, 

Which you must take wholly on good faith, 

Even those days when I do not see you. 

Your face and smile I keep in memory's place, 

Your valor, your body smooth and white. 

If my Faith were as faithful as that image there, 

I'd walk living into Paradise. 

I am rendered so utterly 

Yours, without reservation, 

That not one who wears ribbon 

Could bring me any joy, 

Nor I prize the compensation 

Even if she made me lover 

And had me sleeping with her, 

Taken against your simple straightest greeting. 

The charm of how you are gives me such joy 

That my desire pleasures me every day. 

Now totally and in full you mistress me, 

How overmastered I am, I can scarce say, 

But even before I saw you 

I'd determine to serve and love you. 

And so I have remained, 

Alone and without aid 

At your side: and lost by 

Doing so many gifts. 

Let who desires them have them. 

I'd rather wait for you, even 

With no understanding between us, 

For my joy can come from you alone. 

Guilhem de Cabestanh 71 

May mercy and love descend upon you, lady, 

Before the sickness inflames, 

May joy burn us, tears and sighs banished, 

May neither rank nor riches separate us. 

All good's forgot 

If I do not obtain 

Some mercy, beautiful thing. 

It would give some relief at least 

If you answered what I've asked. 

Either love me, or not at all, for now 

I don't know how it is. 

Because I find no defense against your valor, 

May you have pity, so it end in honor. 

May God never hear prayer of mine if I 

Would take the rents of the four richest kings there are, 

Put together, 

Against the chance of finding mercy with you. 

For I cannot 

Stir one jot 

Away from you where my love is set. 

And if you found you could 

Accept it 

With a kiss 

I'd never want to be dissolved from this. 

Frank and courteous lady, 
Come hell or high water, 
Anything that pleased you 
No matter how forbid, 
I would set me to it. 

Ray, the good and beauty 
Residing in my fair lady 
Has enlaced me sofdy 
Taken me completely. 
How can I deny it? 


72 Provence 


A Knight Was with His Lady Fondly Lying 

Us cavaliers si iazia 

A knight was with his lady fondly lying — 
The one he cherished most — and gently sighing 
As he kissed her, complained: My love, the day 
Soon will arrive, chasing this night away. 

Already I can hear the watchman crying: 

Quickly, begone! You may no longer stay, 
For it is dawn. 

My love, if there were but some wile or way 

To banish hostile morn and prying day — 

At least from where we two are fondly lying — 

Then filled with thanks would be my gentle sighing, 

Already I can hear the watchman crying: 

Quickly, begone! You may no longer stay, 
For it is dawn. 

My love, I know that he is surely lying 
Who tells you there is any sadder sighing 
Than of two lovers who bemoan the day 
That comes too soon to chase their night away. 

Already I can hear the watchman crying: 

Quickly, begone! You may no longer stay, 
For it is dawn. 

My love, forget me never, for today — 
Although I now must rise and go my way — 

Uc de La Bacalaria 73 

I leave my heart there, where we two were lying, 
To pledge unending love in endless sighing. 

Already I can hear the watchman crying: 

Quickly, begone! You may no longer stay, 
For it is dawn. 

My love, if you were not close by me lying, 
Then death would echo in my doleful sighing. 
I will return. So does my torment weigh, 
That without you I cannot live the day. 

Already I can hear the watchman crying: 

Quickly, begone! You may no longer stay, 
For it is dawn. 



To Praise the Gift of Love That Binds My Heart 

Per grazir la hona estrena 

To praise the gift of love that binds my heart, 
And to appease its pain, I wish to write 
An "alba" of a different sort. The night 
Is clear and calm; a songbird's supple art 

Echoes my plight. 
God! bring the day and let a lover's sorrow 

Fade with the morrow. 

By all the Holy books, gladly I swear 
That Tristan, Flore, and all their amorous kin 
Were not so true to love as I have been. 
Let her but start to speak and I am there 
Ere she begin. 


God! bring the day and let a lover's sorrow 
Fade with the morrow. 

I shall not trust the fools who think that I 
Should leave my love; I know there is no flight. 
She wounds my heart; I cannot sleep the night. 
Were I afar, I should return to die 

Within her sight. 
God! bring the day and let a lover's sorrow 

Fade with the morrow. 

To trap a bear or leopard I possess 
The art; or to besiege a fort, the might. 
With Love my foe, however, I am quite 
Unskilled, and wish to be more powerless 

In such a fight. 
God! bring the day and let a lover's sorrow 

Fade with the morrow. 



A Debate 


Gaucelm, three plays of love 

I'll divide with you and Hugo. 

Each of you take whatever pleases 

And leave me whichever one you care to. 

A lady has three gallant lovers 

And with their loves they press her hard: 

And when all three are there before her 

To each she makes love's semblance. 

At one she casts an amorous glance, 

Squeezes the second's hand, the third, 

de Mauleon 75 

She presses his foot and smiles. Now, 
Since one is so, tell me in which 
Move she shows the greatest love. 


Savaric, you know too well, which 
Friend received the kindest gift. 
No lies, frankly it was the one 
Who from her eyes took loving glance. 
It's from the heart such softness moves, 
Her love's a hundred times better shown. 
For, as far as holding hands goes, 
I say she meant neither good nor harm 
From a mutual pleasure that's so common. 
Why, a lady would do as much in greeting. 
As for the foot, don't think it's proof 
That the lady was making love to him. 
If you took it for love you'd be mistaken. 


Say what you will, Gaucelm, you're 

Crazy man, you're so far off, 

For in a glance I know no gain 

To a lover — as you claim, 

And if he thinks so, he's mad. 

The eye regards others — and him, 

It has no other power than this. 

How much more when, ungloved, the white 

Hand squeezed her lover's softly! Then 

Love moved both from the heart and sense. 

Since I'm maintaining the noblest part 

En Savaric, the polite pressure 

Of a foot I can scarcely credit. 


Uc, you've left the best to me, so 
I'll uphold it and not say no. 
I say the gentle pressure given 
By her foot was the surest proof: 

76 Provence 

She hid her fine love from gossiping. 
And best, while she gave such heaven 
To her lover, she smiled, rejoicing. 
Now that is love, and undisguised! 
Whoever thinks the hand's caress 
Shows greater love just makes no sense. 
Gaucelm, it doesn't seem to me that 
You can equate a glance with it if 
You know love as well as you claim. 


Whoever demeans the glances of eye 

And the pleasure that may be made thereby, 

Doesn't recognize the messengers of the heart 

That sends them. They are, assuredly, 

For the eyes discover to the lover 

What timid hearts keep under cover; 

Thus they show all of love's pleasure. 

But in jest and laughing, a lady often 

Will nudge the feet of many men 

Without any other understanding. 

Uc maintains a fallacy when 

He claims the hand is such a treasure. 

I say it is not worth a glove. 

I bet he's never been moved by love. 


Gaucelm, against Love you've been 
Outspoken, the lord of Mauleon too, 
And does it ever show in the argument! 
For, the eyes, which you have chosen, 
Have fooled many a faithful lover. 
As for a lady with faithless heart 
If she stepped on my foot for a year 
My heart would have no rejoicing. But 
The hand is beyond contention, for that 
Moment of tension is better than either. 
If it had not been Love that moved her 
Heart, she'd not have put her hand there. 

^eire Cardenal 77 


Gaucelm, you've lost the argument, 
You and Uc both, indisputably. 
And I would have make judgment 
Mos-Garda-Cors who's conquered me, 
and lady Marie where price frequents. 


Vanquished? I sir? By no means, 
And the judge shall make it all too plain. 
And I wish might be that same 
The lady Guillema de Benauges 
With her courteous, loving words. 


Gaucelm, I've argued in such degree 
That both of you are outside, and I 
Sustained. I know a heart so good 
In which the judgment may be put, 
I've more gain there than any three. 



I Am an Enemy to Trickery and Pride 
Tostemfs azir falsetat et enian 

I am an enemy to trickery and pride 

and try to live avoiding moral taint, 

for when I know that I have virtue on my side, 

then all is well and I have no complaint. 

Some men we see who know not right 

and put the truth and faithfulness to flight, 

but he who rises using such deceit 

will fall from his ascent in hard defeat. 

The rich man shows the others such regard 
as Cain showed Abel when he left him dead; 

78 Provence 

they rob like wolves robbing a farmer's yard 

and tell more lies than prostitutes in bed. 

If you would pierce them here and there, no doubt 

you would not find the truth come pouring out, 

but lies, which in their hearts such flood tides bring, 

they overflow like water from a spring. 

Many barons make the world believe 

their merit, though they're as false as glass rings, 

and those who call them noble men deceive 

you like the man who sells an ass that sings. 

They are not genuine by law nor weight. 

Like false coins they hold their rate : 

although they carry cross and crown, 

they'd show no gold if they were melted down. 

I have a bargain, if everyone will grant 

it, from the Orient to the end of the sun's trail : 

to every faithful man I'll give one bezant, 

if every traitor lets me have a nail. 

I'll hand out golden coins among the brave, 

if I may have one copper from every knave. 

I'll give a pile of gold to every honest man, 

if every liar puts an egg in my pan. 

All the law that most men ever heard of 
I can write upon a piece of parchment big 
enough to fit in half a finger of my glove. 
I could feed all men of merit with one fig: 
food for the worthy will never be in need, 
although it may be so when villains feed. 
If you would call, "You honest men, come eat," 
I do not think a man could leave his seat. 

He who calls himself a noble knight 
and lives ignobly, should never hear the name. 
He is no Justice who doesn't care for right; 
he is not honest who tells no truth. A shame 
to reason is that men of wicked wavs 

Peire Cardenal 79 

gather gratitude and fame and praise. 

On palace walls this saw we should engrave: 

Who flayed you once, the next time will not shave. 

My verses and I warn you in palace and city 
that, if with righteousness and truth and pity 
man does not rule himself in earth's domain, 
not here nor later will courage hide his pain. 


Once on a Certain Nameless Town 
Una ciutatz fo, no sai cats 

Once on a certain nameless town 
A heavy rain came pelting down, 
A very special kind of rain 
For all it touched became insane. 
Save for one man they all went crazy 
But he, tired out or maybe lazy, 
Was in his house serenely snoring 
What time the magic rain was pouring. 

The shower had ceased when he awoke; 
He went forth and beheld the folk 
Behaving in the maddest fashion 
And giving vent to eveTy passion. 
Some wore their winter underwear, 
Some waltzed about completely bare; 
Some tore their clothes as he went by, 
Others were spitting at the sky. 
Some were hitting, punching, stabbing 
Their dearest friends and others grabbing 
Sticks and stones which then they'd fling 
Not aiming them at anything. 
One hurdles benches, one assumes 
A regal stance, another fumes 

8o Provence 

And mutters incoherent speech : 

Some curse, some blaspheme and some preach. 

Now he whose wits are whole and sound 
In fear and wonder looks around 
Hoping to find one friend still sane, 
But hope and anxious search are vain. 
He looks on them with troubled gaze 
But greater still is their amaze. 
They mark his sober attitude, 
His modest manner, and conclude, 
Since he is different from the rest, 
He must be mad. And so with zest 
They fall upon him, rip his coat 
And try to seize him by the throat. 
They shove and slap and pummel him, 
Threaten to tear him limb from limb. 
He struggles, falls, gets up, breaks free 
And strains his aching legs to flee; 
With tattered garments, bloody head, 
At last he staggers home, nigh dead. 

'Tis of this world my tale is telling 

And of the people therein dwelling: 

Our world, with which we're so contented, 

Is the town of the demented, 

For mark, the truly wise 'tis clear 

Will honor God and so revere 

His holy law, but to our cost 

That wholesome simple wit is lost. 

A rain of greed and avarice 

Has nourished pride and wickedness 

And led the whole wide world astray 

And none will follow on God's way. 

If one should cling to our Lord's school 
His neighbors would dub him a fool, 
Deride him, scoff at him, mistreat him, 
Persecute him, starve him, beat him. 

Peire Cardenal 81 

Because, not being like the rest, 
They'd judge he must be mad, at best. 
God's wisdom's folly, they well know, 
And his liegemen in madness go, 
Wherefore they must be hunted down 
And taught the wisdom of the town. 
A world deranged cannot permit 
God's sanity to thrive in it. 


Priests Disguise as Shepherds 

Li clerc si fan fastor 

Priests disguise as shepherds 

And are murderers; 

And falsify great sanctity 

In priestly garb 

Which brings to mind 

How Master Fox, one day, 

Planned to raid the fold: 

But fearing dogs 

He wore a wooly fleece 

Thanks to which he fooled them, 

Then ate and swallowed 

Everything he pleased. 

Kings and emperors, 

Dukes, counts, and lesser men, 

And with them, knights, 

Were rulers of the world; 

Now I see their property 

In priestly mastery 

With theft and treason, 

And with hypocrisy, 

With violence and preaching; 

Nor can they bear it 

82 Provence 

When all's not left to them 

And so it goes, however long it takes. 

The greater they are 

The less their worth 

The greater the folly 

The less plain truth 

The greater the lies 

The less loyal friends, 

The greater the breach 

The less the priestliness. 

Of false priests, I must say this: 

IVe never heard of any 

Worse enemies of God 

Since ancient times. 

When I'm in a refectory 
I don't think it's an honor, 
For at the highest table 
I see great rascals sit 
And take their pottage first. 
Listen to this villainy: 
For still they dare to come 
And none turns them away. 
Yet I've never seen a beggar 
Beside such wealthy hosts: 
Of that much I'll excuse them. 

Let chiefs or sultans 

Never fear 

That priors or abbots 

Will assail them 

Or start to grab their lands, 

For that would be hard work. 

But here they try to find 

How to make the world their own 

And how to pry 

Lord Frederick from his refuge 

Peire Cardenal 83 

But that attack 

Did not give cause for joy! 

Priests, whoever said 
Your heart's no wicked traitor 
Mistook his calculations 
For no one's worse than you. 




Toward the year noo there appeared in Provence, in Southern 
France, a subjective lyrical utterance which imposed its unique 
character on all the poetry of medieval Christian Europe. 
Written in a vernacular language — the Romanic Languedoc — 
it was a coherent, cultivated expression, from writers who re- 
vealed distinct personalities and who seemed to be no longer 
fettered to the world of folklore or to the storytelling tradition 
of an earlier period. 

Provencal poetry came to its greatest fruition during a half- 
century (1162-1213) and derived its inspiration from courtly 
love and feudal manners. The poetic forms created and de- 
veloped were the canso, for the expression of erotic sentiments; 
the sirventes, for personal and political attacks, and for moral- 
izing; the planh, for lamenting the death of some personage; 
the tenso, for debating, generally about love; when more than 
two poets participate, the debate is called partimen or joe 
partit. The alba (the same as the anbe of Northern France and 
the Tagelied of Germany) was a dawn-song depicting the un- 
happiness of lovers who, after spending the night together, 
must separate at dawn. Finally, the pastorela, so ubiquitous dur- 
ing the Middle Ages — it was variously called serranilla in 
Spain, serrana in Galicia-Portugal, and pastourelle in Northern 
France — charmingly presented a gentleman, generally the poet 
himself, wooing a shepherdess who, after a lively dialogue, 
either accepted his advances or sent him away. 

beatritz de dia (fl 1160), la Comtessa de Dia, is 
the most significant trohairitz, or lady-troubadour. The object 
ol her love is supposed to have been the arrogant lady-killer 
Raimbaut d'AuTenga (q.v.), a maker of intricate verse, and 
among her works is a tenso, or debate song, with him. Her few 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 85 

songs, about five, are striking in their utter frankness and the 
devotion they express to the passion of love — whether the 
passion is biographical or literary fiction. 

BERN ART DE VENTADORN (fl. II50-I180), the Son of 

an ovener in the castle of Ebles II of Ventadour, was one of the 
first poets to formulate the convention of courtly love. His 
satire, "Friend Bernard de Ventadorn" presents a cynical atti- 
tude toward love that is contradicted by his delicate lyrics. 
After quarreling with Ebles III, Bernart sojourned in the court 
of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Later 
he was protected by Count Raimon V of Toulouse and entered 
the monastery of Dalon after Raimon's death. The number of 
his surviving poems, about forty-five, attests to his popularity. 

bertran de born (fl. 1180), a turbulent Baron born 
at the castle of Hautefort, loved schism and warfare, fighting 
as savagely against his own brother and neighbors as against 
Henry II of England and Richard the Lion-Hearted. Bertran's 
quarrelsome nature is reflected in fiery sirventes, but he also 
wrote an elegiac planh or lament, "If All the Grief and Sorrow, 
the Strife/' on the death of the young Henry "del Curt Man- 
tel,'' and a few love lyrics — some forty poems in all which 
prove him to be one of the outstanding and most original poets 
of medieval Europe. 

cercamon (c. 1 100-1 1 52) was a native of Gascony but 
apparently traveled widely as a jongleur or minstrel. He is 
said to have received his name from the fact that "he sought 
out the whole world [e cerquet tot lo man] wherever he could 
go." "With Mournful Tones My Verses Start," a lament on 
planh for the death of William X (April 9, n 37) has a rhyme 
repetition with a dirge-like effect, suggesting the chanting of 
mourners or the tolling of bells. Cercamon has left us eight 
poems, mostly love lyrics, written c. 1 1 35-1 145 at Limousin and 
Poitevin courts. 

dal fin (d. 1234). Although the anonymous Vida regularly 
uses the article with "Dalfin," this was the name and not the 

86 Provence 

title of the Count of Clermont and Montferrand, a patron of 
many troubadours and a poet himself. Some ten poems are 
attributed to him. 

gaucelm faidit (fl. n 85-1 21 5), a native of Urzeche, 
lived as a professional troubadour in the courts of Marie de 
Ventadour and other nobles, including Boniface II of Mon- 
ferrat, Raimbaut de Vaqueiras' protector, whom he followed 
on the Fourth Crusade (1202). Addicted to good eating and 
heavy drinking, he competed with his mistress in stoutness, 
sang in a disconcertingly shrill voice, and constantly lost at 
dice. Among his seventy poems the most memorable are a 
plank on the death of Richard the Lion-Hearted and the tender 
alba "A Knight Was with His Lady Fondly Lying." 

giraut de bornelh (c. 1165-1200) came from hum- 
ble parents in the Excideul region of Dordogne, and his poems 
— some eighty of them — show a wide range in subject matter. 
His prosody, favoring precious complexity and artificiality, 
seems to have won him the title of "maistre des troubadours," 
although, strangely enough, in a tenso or debate with Raim- 
baut d' Aurenga held probably at Christmas, 1 1 70, Girault de- 
fended simplicity of expression. His alba, "Heavenly King, 
Glorious God of Light," is one of the finest medieval poems. 
The first six stanzas are recited by the watchman, a friend of 
the lover, and in the last stanza (of questionable authenticity) 
the lover replies. 

guilhem de cabestanh (c. 1190-1212) is remem- 
bered for the legend of the coeur mange rather than for his 
nine or ten lyrics. "Guilhem de Cabestanh," reads his Vida, 
"was a knight from the country of Roussillon which borders 
on Catalonia and Narbonne. He was quite as handsome as he 
was renowned in arms and chivalry. And there lived in his 
country a lady named Soremonda, wife of Raimon of Castel 
Roussillon, a rich and noble knight who was cruel and fierce and 
base. Guilhem de Cabestanh fell madly in love with Soremonda 
and made songs for her and she was young and beautiful and 
gay and loved him better than anything on earth. And so 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 87 

Raimon was told by gossips and he, jealous and wrathful, 
looked into the matter and finding it was true, set watch upon 
his wife. And one day Raimon found Guilhem a-hawking and 
killed him and ripped his heart out of his body and had it 
carried to be roasted and seasoned with pepper and set before 
his wife to eat. And when the lady had eaten it, Raimon told 
her what she had eaten. When she heard, she fell into a 
swoon and on recovering, she said: 'My lord, you have given 
me such good meal that I shall never touch any other.' On 
hearing this, he ran upon her with his sword and would have 
split open her head, but she ran to a balcony and cast herself 
down, and so died." Among Guilhem de Cabestanh's admirers 
are to be counted Petrarch and Stendhal. 

jaufre rudel(A. i 1 48), Prince of Blave, in Saintonge, 
on the Garonne, is best known for the legend that probably 
was fabricated from his references to a far-away love. He is 
said to have fallen in love with a countess of Tripoli merely 
from reports of her. In order to see her, he joined a crusade, 
but he fell ill on the way. His countess came to him, he died 
in her arms, and she, in her grief, became a nun. Jaufre's 
charming song, "When Days Grow Long in May," so sweetly 
melancholy and so suggestive of a far-away love (the word 
lonh recurs several times in each stanza), helped to inspire the 
legend, so dear to Petrarch, Heine, Browning and the Edmond 
Rostand of The Tar- Away Princess. 

marcabru (fl. 1 1 29- 1 1 50), a foundling from Gascony, was 
brought up by Sir Aldric d'Auvillars and trained in the art of 
poetry by Cercamon. He was hostile to women and love, and 
"much feared for his tongue," and was murdered by the cas- 
tellans of Guienne "of whom he had spoken great ill." Among 
the forty-five pieces he has left us are to be found sprightly 
pastourelles, a charming romance relating to the crusade of 
1 1 47 — introducing for the first time the theme of a maid for- 
saken by her lover for the Cross — and, above all, mordant 
poems exposing the moral turpitude of his age. In Marcabrun, 
Raymond Guthrie had dramatized the poet's life. 

88 Provence 

the monk of montaudun(c. ii 80-121 5). Because 
he became the Prior of Vic, although rarely to be found in 
that village, this vagrant monk enjoyed the patronage of Rich- 
ard I of England and Alfonso II of Aragon, and was known 
as Peire de Vic and Lo Monge de Montaudun (The Monk of 
Montaudun). His colorful work comprises slanderous sketches 
of contemporary troubadours, tensos with God or between Saints 
—one of these debates is on whether women should use make- 
up) — and, finally, enumerations of enuegs, i.e., pet aversions or 
annoyances, and plazers, i.e., delights, which reveal the man- 
ners and intimate customs of his period. 

peire cardenal (c. 1225-1272) was the best of the 
troubadours who in the thirteenth century expressed the politi- 
cal and religious tensions that led to the Albigensian crusade. 
His sirventes, or satiric songs, are witty, earthy, and vigorous, 
especially in attacks against venal clergy and generally un- 
scrupulous nobility. However, he sometimes combines racy 
satire with an eloquent sense of piety in a manner similar to 
that of Villon. One of his best songs is a simple prayer to the 
Virgin. Texts of about seventy of his songs are extant. 

peire vidal (1 175-1205), son of a furrier of Toulouse, 
served Raimon V, Alfonso II of Aragon, Alfonso VIII of Cas- 
tile and several Italian lords. Dressed in a wolf-skin to court 
his lady love, his Loba de Paugnautier, he was attacked by 
dogs. Later he married in Cyprus the granddaughter of the 
Emperor of Constantinople and traveled with an imperial 
throne among his baggage, calling himself Emperor — in short, 
he led a life filled with picturesque and not-too-credible hap- 
penings, quite proper for a romantic novel. (See Cronin's 
The Fool of Venus.*) Peire Vidal's fifty odd poems evidence 
extraordinary verve and originality, a felicitous fusion of real- 
ism and fantasy. From his song "When I Breathe This Air" 
emanates a genuine feeling for Provence; his "I Put an End 
to Singing" is also unique as a love song: it praises three ladies 
and complains of a fourth. 

peirol ( 1 160-1225) was an impoverished knight of Au- 
vergne, taking his name from a castle called Peirol in the 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 89 

country of the Dauphin, at the foot of Roquefort. He was a 
courteous man whom the Dauphin of Auvergne kept in his 
household, clothed, and gave him horses and arms. The Dau- 
phin had a sister called Sail de Claustra (Out of a Cloister), 
fair, kind, and highly esteemed; she was the wife of a great 
baron of Auvergne, Lord Beraut of Mercoeur. Peirol loved 
her with true love and the Dauphin interceded for him; he 
was pleased with the songs that Peirol made for his sister and 
persuaded her to be pleased with them likewise; so much so, 
that the lady, to her brother's knowledge, reciprocated the poet's 
affection and yielded him the pleasures of love. But this love 
reached such a height that the Dauphin became jealous on his 
sister's behalf, thinking that she was conceding more than was 
becoming to her, and so he dismissed Peirol and sent him into 
exile and ceased to provide him with clothing and arms. Peirol 
could no longer maintain himself as a knight and went forth 
among the courts as a jongleur; the barons rewarded him with 
clothing and money and horses — thus goes the Provencal 
Vida. We may add that Peirol was born about 1160 and died 
about 1225; that his wanderings included a trip to the Holy 
Land (1221) and some residence in Italy. S. C. Aston's edition 
of Peirol's works (Cambridge, 1953) contains thirty-four 
poems, two of doubtful attribution. 

raimbaut d'aurenga(c. 11 50-1 173), was the Count 
of Orange, object of Beatritz de Dia's love and poetic inspira- 
tion. He cultivated the trobar He, full of subtleness and her- 
metic preciosity: the forty poems he has left us are shot through 
with recondite imagery and ambiguity and show him to be a 
virtuoso, rather artificial and cold. 

RAIMBAUT DE V A Q U E I R A S (c. I I55-I205), SOn of an 

impoverished Provencal knight, spent much of his time in 
Italy, mostly in the court of Boniface II of Monferrand, whom 
he accompanied on the Fourth Crusade (1202). From the 
forty poems extant can be seen his wide range: the technical 
ability in the estampida "Kalenda maya"; the charming tenso 
or debate in which the Italian girl replies to him in Genoese; 
the plank "High Waves That Ride the Sea," a Provencal adap- 
tation of the delightful Galician-Portuguese cantiga do amigo 

90 Provence 

"Oy, aura dolza, qui vens deves lai," which has been attributed 
to him, for it is assumed that his wanderings took him as far 
as Galicia. 

richart de berbezilh (c. ii 80-1 207), a native of 
Saintonge, enjoyed the patronage of Marie of Champagne and 
Diego Lopez de Haro, Lord of Vizcay. His ten extant poems 
are distinguished for their lucid expressions of courtly love 
motifs, colored by witty animal metaphors drawn from medieval 
bestiaries. As for his song "You See Me like the Elephant," the 
poet, tired by long, unrequited love service, is said to have suc- 
cumbed to an invitation from a neighboring lady, who promised 
to grant all his desires. He took leave of his first mistress, but 
when he addressed himself to the second, she upbraided him 
for his faithlessness to the first. He then returned to the first 
lady, "the saddest man in the world." After much begging for 
mercy, partly with the song, but then only on the strength of 
a stipulated appeal from one hundred knights and one hundred 
ladies, he was pardoned. 

SAVARIC DE MAULEON (c. I20O-I232), a powerful 

baron of Poitiers, handsome and generous, took part in tourna- 
ments, courted the ladies, and composed songs. He waged war 
against the King of France and was rewarded by John, King 
of England, with an English peerage. The partimen, or de- 
bate, here included, a fine piece of medieval casuistry, concerns 
a lady who had three suitors: she gives one an amorous glance; 
another, a squeeze of the hand; and presses the foot of the 
third — Savaric calls his friends Gaucelm Faidit [q.v.] and 
asks them to decide who is the most favored of the lady's 

uc de la bacalaria (c. 1 200-1 232), jongleur from 
Bacalaria or Bachelerie, near Urzeche, "of litde worth and 
little travel/' according to his contemporaries, left us at least 
six pieces which indicate a great deal of refinement and good 


the earliest Provencal troubadour, was the seventh Count of 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 91 

Poitou and ninth Duke of Aquitaine. Owning more land than 
the King of France, he waged constant wars to enlarge his 
possessions, attacked Church property, undertook a disastrous 
crusade in 11 01, helped to defeat the Spanish Moors, and 
was several times excommunicated for his riotous living. At the 
end of his life, he left his domains in a precarious position. 
Bearing the stamp of his personality, his poems combine deli- 
cacy with sensuality. 


Anonymous (IXth century) Translated by 

The Sequence of Saint Eulalia 99 

La Cantilene de Sainte Eulalie Charles Maxwell Lancaster 

Anonymous (XII th century) 
Malady, Death and Resurrection of Saint Lazarus ioo 

Maladie, mort et resurrection de Saint Lazare Daisy Aldan 

Spinning Songs [Chansons de Toile] 

When It Is May and the Darkness Is Short 101 

Quant vient en mai que Von dit as Ions jors Patricia Terry 

Fair Aye Sits at Her Cruel Lady's Feet 102 

Siet soi hele Aye as piez sa male maistre Jacques LeClercq 

On Saturday Evening, the Week at an End 102 

Lou samedi a soir fait la semaine Patricia Terry 

By Water's Edge Sing Sisters Three 104 

Trois sereurs seur rive mer Norman R. Shapiro 

Song of the Ill-Married [Chanson de Mal-Mariee] 

In an Orchard a Little Fountain Flows 104 

En un vergier lez une fontenele Patricia Terry 

Workers' Songs [Chansons des Laboureurs] 

Poem of a Glass Blower 105 

Poeme du souffleur de verre Daisy Aldan 

94 Northern France 

Sounds of the Trades 1 06 

Bruits de metiers Daisy Aldan 

Why Do We Let Them Oppress Us? 107 

Pourquoi nous laisser faire dommage? Daisy Aldan 

By the Sweat of My Brow I Toiled 107 

A la sueur de mon visage Daisy Aldan 

Chretien de Troyes (c. 113 5- 11 90) 
From Yvain [Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion] 
(lines 5,298-5,327) 

Complaint of the Weavers 108 

Complainte des tisseuses de soie Daisy Aldan 

Marie de France (fl. 1181-1216) 
The Laustic 1 09 

Le Laustic Charles E. Passage 

Richard the Lion-He arted 
[Richard Coeur de Lion] (1157-1199) 
In No Way Can a Prisoner Reveal 114 

]a nus hons pris ne diva sa reson Patricia Terry 

Le Chastelain de Coucy (d. 1203) 
The Sweet Voice of the Woodland Nightingale 115 

La dolce voix del rosignol sauvage Patricia Terry 


If This Insensate Rage 116 

La rage et derverie Patricia Terry 

Anonymous (XHIth century) 
The Circumcision of Our Lord 1 J 8 

La Circoncision du Seigneur Daisy Aldan 

May I Sing to You? 122 

Voulez-vous que je vous chante? Muriel Kittel 

Guiot de Dijon (fl. 1220) 
I Will Sing and So Relieve 123 

Chanterai por mon corage Patricia Terry 

Gace Brule (c. 1179-1212) 
Most Hateful Is It to My Eyes 125 

Cant voi Vaube dou jor venir Patricia Terry 

Northern France 95 


Romance of the Rose [lines 45-128] 126 

Le Roman de la Rose Charles Dahlberg 

Jean de Meun (c. 1240-1305) 
Romance of the Rose [lines 13,265-13,724] 128 

Le Roman de la Rose Charles Dahlberg 

Colin Muset (after 1234) 

My Lord, Although I Strum and Sing 138 

Sire cuens, j'ai viele Norman R. Shapiro 

Rutebeuf (c. 1225-1280) 
His Poverty 14® 

La Pauvrete James Edward Tobin 

His Repentance 14 1 

La Repentance Norman R. Shapiro 

The Dispute of Chariot and the Barber 144 

La Desputoison de Chariot et du Barhier William M. Davis 
To the Virgin 147 

De la Chanson de Nostre Dame James Edward Tobin 

Adam de La Halle (c. 1 240-1 288) 
So Much the More as I Draw near My Land 147 

De tant com plus approime mon pais Irma Brandeis 

To All My Dainty Loves, Goodbye 148 

A Dieu comant amourettes Irma Brandeis 

All Too Much I Long to See 149 

Trop desir a voir Irma Brandeis 

Love and My Lady, Too 149 

Amours et ma Dame aussi Irma Brandeis 

Jacob Bar Juda, Hazak (fl. 1288) 
Sorely Tried Is Israel, the Hapless Folk 149 

Mout sont a mecchief lsr[ael], Veegaree gent 

William M. Davis 

As Lilies White, More Crimson Than the Rose 152 

Blanche com lys, plus que rose vermeille Dwight Durling 

If I Must Feel Your Wrath Eternally 152. 

Se vos courrous me dure longuement Norman R. Shapiro 

Rich in Love and Beggar to My Heart 153 

Riches d' amour et mendians d'amie William M. Davis 

96 Northern France 

I Curse the Hour, the Moment and the Day 1 54 

Je maudis I'eure et le temps et le jour Jacques LeClercq 

Strike Down My Heart with But a Single Blow 1 54 

Faites mon cuer tout a un coup tnorir Norman R. Shapiro 

Milady, Comely, Candid, Worldly- Wise 155 

Douce dame, cointe, apperte et jolie Norman R. Shapiro 

Open Your Eyes, Milady, Run Me Through i55 

Partues moy a Vouvrir de vos yeux Norman R. Shapiro 

Ah! How I Fear, Milady, Lest I Die 156 

De morir sui pour vous en grant paour Norman R. Shapiro 

Jean Froissart (1337-1410) 
Be Gallant, Mannerlie and Pure of Heart 156 

Axes le coer courtois et honnourable Jacques LeClercq 

O Love, O Love, What Wouldst Thou Make of Me? 1 57 

Amours, Amours, que voles de mot faire? Jacques LeClercq 
Of All Known Flowers, Men Hold the Rose Most Rare 157 

Sus toutes fleurs tient on la rose a belle Jacques LeClercq 

Agnes de Navarre Champagne 
(XIV th century) 
Lover, as God May Comfort Me 158 

Amy si Dieu me confort Jacques LeClercq 

Without My Heart, Love, Thou Shalt Not Depart 158 

Sans coeur de my pas vous ne partirez Jacques LeClercq 


One Day the Rats of All Degrees 1 59 

Je treuve qu'entre les souris Jacques LeClercq 

But Is There No Flower, Perfume or Violet? 160 

Or, nest-il fleur, odeur ne violete? Muriel Kittel 

Am I, Am I, Am I Fair? 161 

Suis-je, suis-je, suis-je belle? Muriel Kittel 

Christine de Pisan (1 364-1 430) 
Ye Gods! of Time I Am Weary 163 

He Dieux! que le temps m'anuyel Muriel Kittel 

You Have Done So Much by Your Great Gentleness 164 

Tant avez fait par votre grant doulgor Muriel Kittel 

Alone Am I, Alone I Wish to Be 165 

Seulette suis, et seulette veuil estre Muriel Kittel 

Now Has Come the Gracious Month of May 166 

Or est venu le tres gracieux mois Muriel Kittel 

Northern France 


Ah Moon, You Shine Too Long 

He, lune trop luis longuement 
Sweet Lady Fair 

Plaisant et belle 
Alone in Martyrdom I Have Been Left 

Seulete m'a laissie en grant martyr e 
To Sing with Joy from out a Sorrowing Heart 

De triste cuer chanter joyeusement 
I Will No Longer Serve You 

Je ne te veuil plus servir 
The Gods and Goddesses, Those Great 

Jadis par amours amoient 
If I'm in Church More Often Now 

Se souvent vais au moustier 
My Heart Is Captive to Gray, Laughing Eyes 

Rians vairs yeulx qui mon cuer aves pris James Edward Tobin 

Muriel Kittel 
Muriel Kittel 
Muriel Kittel 
Muriel Kittel 
Muriel Kittel 
Dwight Durling 
Dwight Durling 

Alain Chartier (c. i 390-1 440) 
Most Foolish Fools, Oh Foolish Mortal Men 

O folz des folz, et les folz mortels hommes Muriel Kittel 

Almighty God, Who Made the Noble State 

Dieu tout puissant, de qui noblesse vient James Edward Tobin 

Charles d'Orleans (c. 1 394-1465) 
News Has Been Spread in France Concerning Me 

Nouvelles ont couru en France 
Pray for Peace, Oh Gentle Virgin Mary 

Pries pour paix, doulce Vierge Marie 
Summer Has Sent His Minions on 

Les \ourriers d'Este sont venus 
Away with You! Begone! Begone! 

Ales vous ant, ales, ales 
Lovers, Beware the Dart That Flies 

Gardez le trait de la fenestre 
The Weather Has Laid Aside His Cloak 

Le temps a laissie son manteau 
While We Watch These Flowers Fair 

En regardant ces belles fleurs 
In the Book of My Thought 

Dedens mon livre de pensee 
Come, Let Us Taste Delight 

Alons nous esbatre 

Jacques LeClercq 

Muriel Kittel 

Dwight Durling 

Dwight Durling 

Muriel Kittel 

Muriel Kittel 

Muriel Kittel 

Muriel Kittel 

Muriel Kittel 







Northern France 

I Love Him Who Loves Me, Otherwise None 181 

J'ayme qui m'ayme, autrement non Muriel Kittel 

Who's There, My Heart?— It Is We, Your Eyes 182 

Cueur, qu'est-ce Ja?—Ce sommes-nous voz yeux Muriel Kittel 
Ah, God, Who Made Her Good to See 1 82 

Dieu, qui la fait bon regarder James Edward Tobin 

Winter, You Are Merely a Churl 183 

Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain Muriel Kittel 

Francois Villon (1 431 -after 1463) 

I Am Francois, to My Dismay 184 

Je suis Francois, dont il me 'poise Harvey Birenbaum 

The Belle Heaulmiere to the Daughters of Joy 184 

ha belle Heaulmiere aux fdles de joie Anthony Bonner 

The Old Woman Laments the Days of Her Youth 185 

Les regrets de la belle Heaulmiere Muriel Kittel 

Ballad for Fat Margot 187 

Ballade de la Grosse Margot Muriel Kittel 

Ballad of the Ladies of Olden Times 1 89 

Ballade des Dames du Temps jadis Ellen Willis 

Villon's Epitaph [The Ballad of the Hanged] 190 

L'Epitaphe Villon [Ballade des pendus] Muriel Kittel 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 




The Sequence of Saint Eulalia 
La Cantilene de Sainte Eulalie 

Good was the girl Eulalia, 

Fair-formed, of soul far fairer. 
God's foemen strove to vanquish her 

And make her serve the Devil. 
She would not heed their wicked rede, 

Forswear Him Heaven-dwelling 
For silver, finery or gold, 

For royal threats or pleading; 
No earthly thing could swerve the girl 

From loving aye God's service. 
Hence, brought before Maximian, 

Who then was king o'er pagans, 
She, never warmed to heed, was urged 

To flee the name of Christian. 
She gathered up her spirit's might, 

Liefer would writhe in torture 
Than lose her maiden innocence; 

For this she died in honor. 
They threw her in the fire to blaze; 

She burned not, being sinless. 
The heathen king was unconvinced; 

He bade the sword behead her. 
The maid did not gainsay this doom, 

To Christ she prayed, world-weary. 
In shape of dove to Heaven she flew. 

Let us beseech her succor 
That Christ have mercy when we die 
And deign to let us come Him nigh 

Through gracious loving-kindness. 


ioo Northern France 


Malady, Death and Resurrection of Saint Lazarus 

Maladie, mort et resurrection de Saint Lazare 


Death execrable! 
Death detestable! 
Death deplorable! 

Weary, grieved! 
Since my brother is dead 

Why do I live? 

My brother's burial 

cruel and sudden 

is cause for lamenting 

Weary, grieved! 
Since my brother is dead 

Why do I live? 

Since my brother is dead 
I deny not death 
nor fear I death 

Weary, grieved! 
Since mv brother is dead 

Why do I live? 

For my brother's dying 
I renounce living 
Woe! Misery is mine! 

Weary, grieved! 
Since my brother is dead 

Why do I live? 


Spinning Songs 101 


When It Is May, and the Darkness Is Short 
Quant vient en mai que Von dit as Ions jors 

When it is May, and the darkness is short, 
The Frenchmen of France return from the court. 
Passing in front of Erembor's door, 
Raymond is with them, well in the lead, 
but to the lady he pays no heed, 
O Raymond, ami! 

At the tower window sat fair Erembor; 
On her lap silk thread of all colors lay. 
Frenchmen of France were returning from court; 
When she saw Raymond not looking her way, 
Well knew the lady what she should say. 
O Raymond, ami! 

"Raymond, my friend, on many a day 
I've seen you stand at my father's door 
Grieving if I sent no message your way." 
"Emperor's daughter, the vows we swore 
You've broken; our love I'll remember no more." 
O Raymond, ami! 

"Raymond, my lord, I'll tell you this: 
On the relics of a hundred maids 
I'll swear that I never our love betraved, 
And a hundred ladies will serve me for witness. 
Take it for true, and I'll give you a kiss!" 
O Raymond, ami! 

Then Count Raymond climbed up the stair; 
Broad are his shoulders, narrow his waist, 
Curly and bright blond is his hair. 

102 Northern France 

Never was there so handsome a knight! 
He saw Erembor, and wept at the sight. 
O Raymond, ami! 

Then Count Raymond climbed up to the tower. 
There he sat down on a bed trimmed with flowers. 
Next to him sat the fair Erembor; 
And they went on with their love as before. 
O Raymond, ami! 


Fair Aye Sits at Her Cruel Lady's Feet 
Siet soi bele Aye as fiez sa male maistre 

Fair Aye sits at her cruel lady's feet, 
Upon her knees an English damascene 
Whereon she sews in lovely filigree — 

Hoi Hoi Love from a stranger realm 

Did trap my heart and I am overwhelmed. 

Adown her cheeks the tears course hot. She grieves 
For that she is whipped every morn and eve 
Because she loves a foreign knight. Ah me! 
Hoi Ho! Love from a stranger realm 
Did trap my heart and 1 am overwhelmed. 


On Saturday Evening, the Week at an End 

Lou samedi a soir fait la semaine 

On Saturday evening, the week at an end, 
two sisters, Gaiette and Oriour, went 
hand in hand to bathe at the fountain. 

Spinning Songs 103 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 
those who love will softly sleep. 

On his way from the quintain, young Gerard 
saw Gaiette as he passed the fountain, 
kissed her and held her tight in his arms. 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 

those who love will softly sleep. 

"When you have drawn enough water, you may 
go home, Oriour — you remember the way; 
Gerard loves me, and with him I'll stay." 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 

those who love will softly sleep. 

Now Oriour, pale and sad, must go; 

she sighs from the heart, and her tears flow 

because her sister will not follow. 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 

those who love will softly sleep. 

"Alas that I was born to sorrow! 

My sister remains in the valley below; 

Gerard will take her away to his home." 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 

those who love will softly sleep. 

Gerard and Gaiette had already left 

on the road which straight to the city led; 

as soon as they arrived, they were wed. 

Wind blows and the branches sweep; 

those who love will softly sleep. 


104 Northern France 

By Waters Edge Sing Sisters Three 
Trois sereurs seur rive mer 

By water's edge sing sisters three, 

Full earnestly. 

The youngest is a darksome lass: 

"I would a tawny love," quoth she, 

'Tor dark am I, 

And fain would have a lad like me." 

By water's edge sing sisters three, 

Full earnestly. 

The second to her Robin calls: 

"Ah! you have ta'en 

My heart in yonder wooded grove, — 

Let's back again!" 

By water's edge sing sisters three, 

Full earnestly. 

At length the third: 

"Ye amorous swains, hark to my word: 

Love none but tender damosel, 

And love her well." 



In an Orchard a Little Fountain Flows 
En un vergier lez une fontenele 

In an orchard a little fountain flows, 
Shadowless ripples over white stones, 
There a king's daughter, her head bowed low, 
Remembers her sweet love and her sorrows. 

Alas, Count Guy, my friend! 
Without you I'll never know joy again. 

Workers' Songs 105 

Count Guy, my love, how cruel is my fate! 
The old man my father gave me for a mate 
Keeps me in his house and locks every gate, 
Nor can I leave it early or late; 

Alas, Count Guy, my friend! 
Without you I'll never know joy again. 

The cruel husband hears her, and soon 
Appears in the orchard, his belt removes, 
And belts her until she is so badly bruised 
She falls at his feet in a deathlike swoon. 

Alas, Count Guy, my friend! 
Without you I'll never know joy again. 

The lady arose from her faint to pray 
That God in pity her grief allay, 
"Let me not be forgotten! Oh, may 
I see my love before vespers today." 
Alas, Count Guy, my friend! 
Without you I'll never know joy again. 

And Our Lord listened to her lament; 
Her lover consoled the chatelaine. 
Beneath a great tree whose branches bend, 
Many tears for their love have fallen. 
Alas, Count Guy, my friend! 
Without you I'll never know joy again. 



Poem of a Glass Blower 
Poeme du souffleur de verre 

Were you not enchanted evenings 
When you watched me blowing glass 
Sounding like the roar of thunder? 

io6 Northern France 

I believe you surely were. 

You imagined imps and Demons 

Helped me fashion all these baubles, 

Especially these huge vials 

Formed by the breathing of my lungs. 

This object so round and clear 
Seemed to shoot forth gleaming sparks 
Bursting suddenly in the air 
Shattering in a million shards; 

I'm sure that I amazed you 
And the same happened to me; 
I was struck dumb with surprise 
When the glass bottle exploded. 


Sounds of the Trades 
Bruits de metiers 

When the miller starts to grind, 
Trique, traque, goes the millstone, 
Trique, traque, goes the millstone, 
Good wheat, fine wheat, 
He puts a fourth aside. 

When the tailor shapes his robe, 
Rique, raque, on the table, 
Rique, raque, on the table, 
Good cloth, fine cloth, 
He puts an ell aside. 

When the weaver is in a rush, 
Zigue, zagu', to warp his patch, 
Zigue, zagu', to warp his patch, 
Good yarn, fine yarn, 
He puts a ball aside. 

Workers' Songs 107 

When the cartwright forms his wheel, 
Tique, tac, with his mallet, 
Tique, tac, with his mallet, 
From the rim to the knob 
He notes if the lathe is round. 


Why Do We Let Them Oppress Us? 
Pourquoi nous laisser faire dommage? 

Why do we let them oppress us? 
We are men as they are, 
Limbs we possess even as they, 
And our hearts are just as noble; 
And as deeply can we suffer . . . 


By the Sweat of My Brow I Toiled 
A la sueur de mon visage 

By the sweat of my brow I toiled 
And I am dying of hunger, 
Three days and no morsel of bread 
Has been tasted in my household, 
Where none is. 

I planted, harvested, and pressed 
The grapes; smoked the fields and pastures, 
To sustain life in our children, 
But I see where all is laid waste 

My Lord God, surely Thou knowest 
How my days were made days of fear, 

108 Northern France 

By royal bailiffs, by gendarmes 
Along with others, one knows well 

For to cleave the heads of my calves, 
Ready to devour my sheep 
Are they with beards on their chins 
But try to get their protection 
Some job! 

Alas! We must simply struggle 
Together, we poor laborers, 
When a lot of wicked scoundrels 
Use force and don't reinforce us. 



Complaint of the Weavers 

Complainte des tisseuses de soie 

Yarn of gold and silk spun 
They, giving their best, each one, 
But so wretched and so poor 
Were they, that at elbows and breasts 
Their gowns hung like lacey shreds. 
Stained were their shirts with dirt, 
Necks scrawny, faces pale and hurt. 
Hunger and ills they reaped. 
He looks at them and they at him, 
All bow their heads and weep; 
We weave forever silk and cloth 
Yet never will be better clothed; 
With want and nakedness accursed; 
Always hunger, always thirst. 
We will never master the feat 
Of learning to earn enough to eat; 

Marie de France 109 

Only bread and nothing else, 
Little at morn, and at even' less; 
For with all our handiwork 
Each is given for his living 
But four deniers 1 of the livre 1 
And surely this is not enough 
To buy our meat, to buy our cloth. 
Who earns a week but twenty sous 
Cannot be free from pain and woes. 
So let all the world know this: 
There is not even one of us 
Who gets more than twenty sous. 
A duke could grow rich on such fare! 
Great indeed is our despair; 
But growing fat on our labor 
Is he for whom we work and slave. 
We wake to work most of the night 
And through the day we toil and sweat 
And are tormented by the threat 
Of beating when we stop to rest 
So we dare neither stop nor rest. 



The Laustic 
Le Laustic 

Now I will tell you an adventure 
Of which the Bretons made a lai. 
Its name is Laustic, I heard, 
And so they call it in their country. 
That is rossignol in French 
And nightingale in good plain English. 

In the country of Saint-Malo 
There was a city much renowned. 

1 Old French money. 

no Northern France 

Two knights had residences there 
As owners of two fortress mansions. 
The excellence of these two barons 
Gained them a good name in the town. 
The one was married to a lady 
Wise, courteous, and well adorned; 
Wondrously well she kept herself 
According to the use and fashion. 
The other was a bachelor 
Reputed well among his peers 
For prowess and great valor and 
For generous hospitality. 
He tourneyed much and freely spent 
And gave away what he possessed. 
He was in love with his neighbor's wife. 
So long he asked, so long he begged, 
And had so much good virtue in him, 
That she loved him above all else, 
Both for the virtue she had heard 
And because he lived so near her. 
Wisely and well they loved each other. 
Much they dissembled and took care 
That people should not notice them 
Nor yet disturb them or suspect them, 
And this they could well do because 
Their place of meeting was so near; 
Their houses were right next each other, 
As were their halls and tower-keeps. 
There was neither bar nor division 
Except a high wall of gray stone. 
From chambers where the lady slept, 
When she stood at the window there 
She could converse with her friend on 
The other side, and he with her. 
They could exchange their messages 
By throwing them or tossing them. 
There was but little to displease them 
And both of them were well content 
Except that they could never come 

Marie de France in 

Together for their pleasure, for 

The lady was most straitly guarded 

As long as he was in the land. 

But still they had the satisfaction 

Whether by night or whether by day 

Of being able to converse, 

And there was no one to prevent 

Their coming to their windows there 

To have a look at one another. 

A long time they loved one another 

Until it came to summer time 

When field and wood grew green again 

And all the orchards were in flower. 

The little birds in their great sweetness 

Sang their delight atop the blossoms. 

It is no wonder, if one loves, 

That he should yield himself to it. 

About the knight I tell you truly 

He yielded himself utterly, 

And from the other side the lady 

Likewise longed with look and glance. 

At night time when the moon was shining 

And when her lord was in his bed, 

From by his side she often rose 

And wrapped her mantle close around her 

And went to stand before her window 

For her friend's sake, who she well knew 

Was likewise there and who was likewise 

Watching most of the night through. 

Theirs was delight in simply gazing 

As long as they could have no more. 

So often she would leave her bed 

That her lord finally grew angry 

And questioned her repeatedly 

Why she got up and where she went. 

"My Lord," the lady answered him, 

"No one has had joy in this world 

Who has not heard the laustic; 

It is for that that I am here. 

112 Northern France 

He sings so sweetly through the night 
It seems to me a great delight. 
I take such pleasure in his song 
I cannot shut my eyes in sleep." 
But when her lord heard what she said 
He laughed in anger savagely, 
And one thing he decided then : 
That he would trap the laustic. 
There was no servant in his house 
But who could rig a net or snare. 
They put them all around the orchard; 
No hazel tree or chestnut tree 
But they had coated it with glue 
Till they had caught and held the bird. 
And when they had the laustic 
They took it to their lord alive, 
And he was happy when he held it. 
He went then to the lady's chambers: 
"Lady," said he, "Lady, where are you? 
Come from your room and talk to us. 

I have the laustic stuck fast 
: That kept you up so many times. 

From now on you can sleep in peace, 

It will not wake you any more." 

But when the lady heard those words 

She was all sorrowful and sad. 

She asked her lord to have the bird, 

But he from malice killed it there: 

With his two hands he wrung its neck, 

And then did something viler still : 

He threw the body at the lady 

So that it stained her dress with blood 

In front and just above her breast. 

And then at once he left her chamber. 

The lady picked the tiny body up. 

Bitterly she wept and cursed 

All who betrayed the laustic 

And made the engines and the nets, 

For they had robbed her of great joy. 

Marie de France 113 

"Alas!" she said, "An evil chance. 

I can no longer rise at night 

Nor go and stand before the window 

To watch for sight of my beloved. 

One thing I know for certain though: 

He will think I pretended merely. 

I must devise some other plan. 

Til send the laustic to him 

And give him word of the adventure." 

Then in a piece of samite worked 

With gold and covered with her writing 

She wrapped the body of the bird. 

Then she sent for a page of hers 

And charged him well to take the message 

To be delivered to her friend. 

He went directly to the knight 

And gave him greeting from his lady, 

Recounted to him all her message, 

And gave the laustic to him. 

When he had shown and told him all 

And when the knight had heard him out, 

He was downcast at the adventure, 

Yet he was neither vile nor slow. 

He had a little coffret made, 

No part of it was iron or steel, 

But only gold and costly gems 

Very precious and very dear, 

And with a lid that fitted closely. 

He placed the laustic within, 

Then had the tiny casket sealed, 

And always had it carried with him. 

This adventure was recounted: 
It could not long remain concealed. 
A lay the Bretons made of it, 
Which people call The Laustic. 


ii4 Northern France 


In No Way Can a Prisoner Reveal 
]a nus hons fris ne dim sa reson 

In no way can a prisoner reveal 
His true thoughts unless he tells his grief; 
But sorrow in a song may find relief. 
I'm strong in friends, but their support is weak; 
Their shame if I, unransomed, cannot leave 
Prison two winters long. 

They know well, my barons and liege-men, 
English, Norman, Gascon, Poitevin, 
I would not suffer any one of them 
For money's sake to come to such an end. 
Nor do I say this to reprove the men 
Who leave me here so long. 

The dead and prisoners have neither friend 
Nor family, no doubt that's what it meant 
When neither gold nor silver would they send. 
Misfortune more than to me, to all my men : 
When I die they will have cause to repent 
Leaving me here so long. 

It is no wonder my heart breaks to see 
My lands invaded by that enemy 
Who, if he remembered now that we 
Once pledged each other our security, 
Would surely turn instead to have me free 
From prison before long. 

In Anjou and in Tours they're well aware, 
Those young lords, so rich and without care, 
That far away a captive's bonds I wear. 

Le Chastelain de Coucy 115 

They loved me once, but now they do not care. 
The fields which rang with gallant deeds are bare 
Since I've been here so long. 

To those I loved and still love, to the men 
Of Cayeux, to Geoffroy the Percherain, 
Say, my song, that faithless they have been 
To one whose heart was never false to them. 
Vile is the deed if they attack me when 
I'm kept away so long. 



The Sweet Voice of the Woodland Nightingale 
La dolce voix del rosignol sauvage 

The sweet voice of the woodland nightingale 
All day and all night long enchants my ear 
And from my heart draws grief and care away 
So that I want to sing out joyfully. 
Let my song be worthy, then, to please 
The lady whom I in all things obey, 
For joy rules in my heart while I can stay 
In her service, never to be free. 

Never has my heart been false or strayed, 

Happier by far though it might be, 

Yet in her presence I dare not betray 

How I have loved and serve her faithfully; 

For all her beauty so bewilders me 

That with her I can't find the words to say, 

Nor can I even look into her face 

My eyes would leave her so unwillingly. 

I think of nothing else all night and day 
But that God grant me joy of my sweet lady! 

Ii6 Northern France 

And never did Tristan by the drink betrayed 
Yield to love with such sincerity. 
I've given all to her, though it be folly, 
My heart and body, will and mind as gage 
Of love, yet my whole life will pass away 
Before I've served my lady worthily. 

Even if I with life itself must pay 
For loving her, I would not call it folly; 
No one will ever find her like again, 
And nothing in the world so pleased me. 
I bless my eyes which placed my heart in fief 
To her at the first moment; I've remained 
Long her hostage, nor shall I complain 
At any time to have her set me free. 

My song, now carry all that I would say 
Where I myself dare not trespass for fear 
That evil scandal-mongers lie in wait; 
Anticipating lovers, they foresee 
Love's pleasures, may God show them no mercy! 
And thus have brought so many to dismay 
That I must from my lady keep away, 
For love has no defense but secrecy. 



If This Insensate Rage 
La rage et derverie 

If this insensate rage 
And the distress of love 
Have brought me to complain 
As fools speak ill of love, 
Let no one this reprove; 
If love my faith betrays, 

Conon de Bethune 117 

I who have been love's slave, 
What can I hold true? 

My grievance, love, shall tell 
And demonstrate your guilt; 
You claimed me as chattel, 
Nor challenged me, but killed. 
You have compelled my will 
Where my cold joy lies still, 
Now she whose love was all 
Drives me toward hopes fulfilled. 

Lovely as an idol 
Is she of whom I speak, 
But vileness in her soul, 
Petulant and weak, 
Makes her appear to me 
Like the wild she-wolf 
Who from within the wood 
Only the worst will seek. 

Why should she be proud 
Of so disdaining me? 
For this no wisdom bows 
To her, for what is she? 
And yet, if her folly 
My banishment allows, 
I give her back her vows 
And take my leave. 

Now has the earth grown hard, 
Nowhere do waters flow; 
My heart would set its mark 
Where I can never know 
Fruit nor leaf nor flower. 
It's time; now serve, my heart, 
Justice and reason's part; 
Give back her love and go. 


n8 Northern France 


The Circumcision of Our Lord 
La Circoncision du Seigneur 

At the entrance to the church 

Light this day, light of joy! I say he who is sad 

Must be turned away from this celebration. 

This way let all hatred, all sorrow be allayed; 

They desire gaiety, those who celebrate the festivity of the ass. 

Singing, the procession moves toward the tableau. (This desig- 
nates to each his role during the service.) 

From the Orient 
The ass has come, 
Fair and valiant, 
Ready for his burden. 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

On the hills of Sichem 
Fed by Ruben 
He crossed the Jordan, 
He climbed toward Bethlehem. 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

Galloping, he outran mules 
Deer and mountain goats, 
Fleeter than the Madianites' 
Swift dromedaries. 

Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

Gold from Arabia 
Incense and mvrrh from Sheba 
Brings to the Church 
The strength of the ass. 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

Anonymous 119 

While he draws the carts 
Piled up high 
His jaw 

Grinds his tough fodder. 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

Bearded barley 
And thistles he eats. 
Wheat from the chaff 
He winnows in the air. 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

Then say, Amen, Ass, 
Now sated with grain 
Amen, repeat amen; 
Let the old make way, 
Ho, my Sire Ass, ho! 

The notice having been read, the Priest begins: 

God, come to the aid 
Of those who are hurt, 

Quickly to help them 
Efface their pains. 

Pity all those 

Who believe in you, Christ, 
You are God of the centuries 
Eternal in your glory. 

So that our choir may 
Sing and say your praises 
To you, Christ, king of glory, 
Glory to you, Oh Lord! 


Alle . . . Let all churches sing 

The sweet sound of the symphony. 

120 Northern France 

Son of Mary, 

Holy Mother, 

Overwhelm us with your gifts 

Of grace sevenfold, and of glory. 

Thus we say to God: luya! 

Four or five Priests sing in falsetto behind the altar: 

This is a day of clarity, light among days of clarity, 

This is a holy day, holy among holy days 

Deserving the diadem of noblesse among other noble days. 

Two or three Priests sing before the altar, in full voice: (Pas- 
tiche du Salve, festa dies, Paschal hymn of Fortunat.) 

Salutations, holy day, venerable in all ages, 
When God came from the womb of the Virgin. 

Small verses sung by two or three Priests: 




Holy Might 


Sun, light 
And summit 

Rock mountain, 
Rock, spring, 
River, bridge 
and life. 

You who sow, 

inonymous 121 


Light eternal; 

You, splendor, 
And beauty, 
And splendor 
And fragrance 

Waking life in all that is mortal. 

You the pole 
The summit 
King of Kings, 
Law of Laws 
And avenger 

Angelic light, 
Are proclaimed 
And adored 

And acclaimed 
And loved 

by celestial legions. 

You God 
The hero, 
Radiant flower, 
Dew of life, 
Reign over us, 
Save us, 
Lead us 

To the supreme 

and to true joys. 

You honor 
And virtue, 
You are the just 
And the true, 
You the holy 

122 Northern France 

And the good, 
The righteous 
And the sovereign 
Our Lord, 

Glory be unto you! 


May I Sing to You? 
Voulez-vous que je vous chante? 

May I sing to you 

A song of charming love? 

Not of any knave, 
But of a gentle knight 
Under an olive's shade, 

Holding his love. 

A blouse of fine linen, 
A cloak of white ermine, 

And a silk bodice she had; 
Her hose were of irises, 
In shoes of mayflowers neatly 

Her feet were clad. 

Her girdle was of leaves 
That grew green in the rain; 

Its clasp was wrought of gold; 
Her purse was made of love, 
Tasseled all with flowers 

Given by love to hold. 

She rode upon a mule 
Shod with silver shoes, 

The saddle of gold was made; 
Behind, upon the crupper, 
Three rose trees had she planted 

To give her shade. 

uiot de Dijon 123 

So she went along the lea, 
Knights did meet with her, 

And greeted courteously: 
"Fair maid, where were you born?" 
"All France sings my praise, 

I am of high degree. 

"My father is the nightingale 
Who sings upon the bough 

Of the highest tree; 
The mermaid is my mother 
Who sings on the farthest shore 

Of the salty sea." 

"How well are you born, fair maid! 
Of noble parentage, 

You come of high degree. 
May it please God, our Father, 
That as my wedded wife 

You may be given me." 



I Will Sing and So Relieve 

Chanterai por mon corage 

I will sing and so relieve 
the sorrow in my heart, for I 
fear that left alone to grieve 
I'll go mad or else will die. 
From that barbarous land where he 
went a pilgrim, none arrive 
home again, and I receive 
no promise that he is alive. 
God, the warcry sounding clear, 
Lord, help the crusader then 

124 Northern 

for whom I so greatly fear; 
evil is the Saracen. 

As I am I shall remain 
till my love returns to me. 
May God bring him home again 
from pilgrimage across the sea! 
Be it known that I disdain 
every other chance to marry; 
though my family complain, 
there is no one else for me. 
God, the warcry sounding clear, 
Lord, help the crusader then 
for whom 1 so greatly fear; 
evil is the Saracen. 

He is lost to me out there; 
that is what so grieves my heart. 
Now surrender to despair 
pleasures from my life depart. 
He is handsome, I am fair. 
God, why did you let it start? 
When we for one another care 
why have you forced us to part? 
God, the warcry sounding clear, 
Lord, help the crusader then 
for whom 1 so greatly fear; 
evil is the Saracen. 

Because he pledged me fealty 
I am well content to wait. 
When the wind blows from the sea, 
from that sweet land far away 
where he is who longs for me, 
toward the wind I turn my face: 
it seems to be my love I feel 
underneath my cloak of gray. 
God, the warcry sounding clear, 
Lord, help the crusader then 

ace Brule 125 

for whom I so greatly fear; 
evil is the Saracen. 

It grieved me that I was deprived 
of going to the parting place. 
His crusader's robe arrived, 
sent me as a last embrace. 
When love tortures me at night, 
I invoke its healing grace, 
around my body wrap it tight 
as if it took my sorrow's place. 
God, the warcry sounding clear, 
Lord, help the crusader then 
for wliom I so greatly fear; 
evil is the Saracen. 



Most Hateful Is It to My Eyes 
Cant voi I'aube dou jor venir 

Most hateful is it to my eyes 
when the dawn comes to the skies 
telling my true love to arise 
and with me no longer stay; 
nothing I hate so much as day 
which keeps me away, love, from you. 

By daylight you cannot appear 
for I have good cause to fear 
the jealous ones who hover near 
to spy on us — you know it's true. 
Nothing I hate so much as day 
which keeps me away, love, from you. 

When I am lying in my bed 

and toward my lover turn my head 

126 Northern Franc* 

to find your empty place instead, 
thus I lament as lovers do: 
nothing I hate so much as day 
which keeps me away, love, from you. 

You must go now, my sweet friend, 
your body I to God commend, 
that you forget me not I pray; 
my love for you can have no end. 
Nothing I hate so much as day 
which keeps me away, love, from you. 

To all who truly love I bring 

this my song, and may they sing 

in despite of gossiping 

and of jealous husbands too: 

nothing I hate so much as day 

which keeps me away, love, from you. 



Romance of the Rose 
Le Roman de la Rose 

I was aware that it was May, 
Five years or more ago; I dreamed 
That I was filled with joy in May, 
The amorous month, when everything 
Rejoices, when one sees no bush or hedge 
That does not wish to adorn itself 
With new leaves. The woods, dry in winter, 
Recover their greenery, and the very earth 
Glories in the roses which water it and forgets 
The poverty in which the winter was passed. 
Then the earth becomes so proud 
That it wants a new robe; and it knows 

ruillaume de Lorris 127 

How to make a robe so intricate 

That it has a hundred pairs of colors, 

This robe of grass and flowers, blue, 

White, and many others, by which 

The earth enriches itself. The birds, 

Silent while they were cold and the weather 

Hard and bitter, become so gay 

In May, in serene weather, that their hearts 

Are filled with joy until they must sing 

Or burst. It is then that the nightingale 

Is constrained to sing his sound, then 

That both parrot and lark take their pleasure, 

And then that young men must become gay 

And amorous in the sweet, lovely weather. 

He who does not love in May 

Has a very hard heart, when he hears 

The birds on the branches, singing their heart-sweet 

Songs. And so I dreamed one night 

That I was in that delicious season 

When everything is stirred by love, 

And as I slept I became aware 

That it was full morning. I got up 

From bed straightway, put on my shoes 

And washed my hands. Then I drew 

A silver needle from a dainty little 

Needle-case and threaded it. 

I had a longing to go out of town 

To hear the sound of birds that sang, 

In that new season, among the trees. 

I stitched my sleeves in zigzag lacing 

And set out, quite alone, to enjoy myself 

Listening to the birds who strained 

Themselves to sing of the gardens bursting 

Into bloom. 

Happy, light-hearted, full 
Of joy, I turned toward a river 
That I heard murmuring nearby, 
For I knew no place to go for pleasure 
More beautiful than by that river, 

128 Northern France 

Whose water gushed deep and swift 

From a nearby hill, as clear and cold 

As that from a well or fountain. It was 

But little smaller than the Seine, 

But spread out wider. I had never seen 

A stream so charmingly placed; it pleased 

And delighted me to look on it. 

As I washed my face and refreshed myself 

With the clear, shining water, I saw 

That the bottom of the stream was all covered 

And paved with gravel. The wide, beautiful 

Meadow came right to the edge of the water. 

The mild morning air was clear, 

Pure, and beautiful. Then I walked 

Out away through the meadow, full 

Of joy as I kept to the river bank 

In descending the stream. 



Romance of the Rose 
Le Roman de la Rose 

In short, all men betray us women. 
All are sensualists, taking their pleasure 
Anywhere. Therefore we women should deceive them 
In turn, not fix our hearts on one. 
A woman who does so is a fool. She should have 
Several friends and, if possible, try 
To delight them so that they are driven to distraction. 
If she has no graces, let her learn them: 
Let her be haughtier toward those who, because 
Of her hauteur, will take more trouble to serve her 
So as to deserve her love, but let her 
Scheme to take from those who make light 
Of her love. She should know games and songs 

Jean de Meun 129 

And flee from quarrels and disputes. 

If she's not beautiful, she should pretty herself. 

The ugliest should wear the most coquettish 


Now if, to her great sorrow, 
She should see her beautiful brown hair 
Falling, or if, because of a serious illness, 
She has to have it cut off 
And her beauty spoiled, or if it happens 
That some vulgar fellow has cut it off 
In anger, so that she is unable to recover 
Her long locks, she should have someone 
Bring her a dead woman's hair, or pads 
Of light silk, stuffed into shapes. 
Over her ears she should wear such horns 
That they could not be surpassed by stag, 
Billy goat or unicorn, even if he 
Had to burst his forehead; if they need color, 
She should tint them with plant extracts, 
For fruits, woods, leaves, bark, 
And roots have strong medicinal properties. 
Lest she should suffer loss of color, 
A heart-rending experience, she 
Must make sure always to have pots of moistening 
Skin-creams in her rooms so that she 
May hide away to put on her paint; 
But she must be very careful 
Not to let any of her guests notice 
Or see her, or she would be in trouble. 

If she has a lovely neck 
And white chest, she should see 
That her dress-cutter lower her neckline 
So that it reveals a half-foot, in front 
And in back, of her fine white flesh; 
Thus she may deceive more easily. 
And if her shoulders are too large 
To be pleasing at dances and balls 
She should wear a dress of fine cloth 
And thus appear less ungainly. And if, 

130 Northern France 

Because of insect bites or pimples, 

She doesn't have beautiful, well-kept hands, 

She should be careful not to neglect them 

But should lift the pimples with a needle 

Or wear gloves so that the scabs 

And pimples will not show. 

If her breasts 
Are too heavy she should take a scarf 
Or towel to bind them against her chest 
And wrap it tight round her ribs, securing it 
With needle and thread by a knot; 
Thus she can be active in her play. 

And like a good little girl she should keep 
Her chamber of Venus tidy. If she 
Is intelligent and well brought-up, she will leave 
No cobwebs around, but will burn or destroy them, 
Tear them down and sweep them up, 
So that no grime can collect anywhere. 

If her feet are ugly, she should keep them covered 
And wear fine stockings if her legs are large. 
In short, unless she's very stupid 
She should hide any defect that she knows of. 

For example, if she knows that her breath 
Is foul she should spare no amount of trouble 
Never to fast, never to speak 
To others on an empty stomach, and, 
If possible, to keep her mouth away 
From people's noses. 

When she has 
The impulse to laugh, she should laugh discreetly 
And prettily, so that she shows little dimples 
At the corners of her mouth. She should avoid puffing 
Her cheeks and screwing her face up in grimaces. 
Her lips should be kept closed and her teeth 
Covered; a woman should always laugh 
With her mouth closed, for the sight of a mouth 
Stretched like a gash across the face 
Is not a pretty sight. If her teeth 
Are not even, but ugly and crooked, 

Jean de Meun 131 

She will be thought little of if she shows them 
When she laughs. 

There is also a proper way 
To cry. But every woman is adept 
Enough to cry well on any occasion, 
For, even though the tears are not caused 
By grief or shame or hurt, they are always 
Ready. All women cry; they are used 
To crying in whatever way they want. 
But no man should be disturbed when he sees 
Such tears flowing as fast as rain, 
For these tears, these sorrows and lamentations 
Flow only to trick him. A woman's weeping 
Is nothing but a ruse; she will overlook 
No source of grief. But she must be careful 
Not to reveal, in word or deed, 
What she is thinking of. 

It is also proper to behave suitably 
At table. Before sitting down she should look 
Around the house and let everyone understand 
That she herself knows how to run a house. 
Let her come and go, in the front rooms and in back, 
And be the last to sit down, being sure 
To wait a little before she finally 
Takes her seat. Then, when she's seated 
At table, she should serve everyone as well 
As possible. She should slice the bread 
In front of the others and pass it to those 
Around her. To deserve praise, let her serve 
The food in front of the one who shares 
Her plate. She should put a thigh or wing 
Before him, in his presence, carve 
The beef or pork, meat or fish, 
Depending upon what food there happens 
To be. She should never be niggardly 
In her servings as long as there is anyone 
Unsatisfied. Let her guard against getting 
Her fingers wet up to the joint 
In the sauce, against smearing lips with soup, 

132 Northern France 

Garlic, or fat meat, against piling up 

Too large morsels and stuffing her mouth. 

When she has to moisten a piece in any 

Sauce, either verte, canieline, or jauce, 

She should hold the bit with her fingertips 

And bring it carefully up to her mouth, 

So that no drop of soup, sauce, or pepper 

Falls on her breast. She must drink so neatly 

That she doesn't spill a single thing on herself, 

For anyone who happened to see her spill 

Would think her either very clumsy 

Or very greedy. Again, she must take care 

Not to touch her drinking cup 

While she has food in her mouth. She should wipe 

Her mouth so clean that grease will not stick 

To the cup, and should be particularly careful 

About her upper lip, for, when 

There's grease on it, untidy drops 

Of it will show in her wine. She should drink 

Only a little at a time, however great 

Her appetite, and never empty 

A cup, large or small, in one 

Breath, but rather drink little and often, 

So that she doesn't go around 

Causing others to say that she gorges 

Or drinks too much while her mouth is full. 

She should avoid swallowing the rim of her cup, 

As do many greedy nurses, who are so foolish 

That they pour wine down their hollow throats 

As if they were casks, who pour it down 

In such huge gulps that they become 

Fuddled and dazed. Now a lady 

Must be careful not to get drunk, for a drunk, 

Man or woman, cannot keep anything 

Secret; and when a woman gets drunk, 

She has no defenses at all in her, 

She blurts out everything whenever she thinks it 

And abandons herself to anyone 

When she yives hersell over to such bad conduct. 

Jean de Meun 133 

She must also beware of falling asleep 
At table, for she would be much less pleasant; 
Many disagreeable things can happen 
To those who take such naps. There is no 
Sense in napping in places where one 
Should remain awake, and manv have been 
Deceived in this way, have many times fallen, 
Either forwards or backwards or sideways, and broken 
An arm or head or ribs. Let a woman 
Beware lest such a nap overtake her; 
Let her recall Palinurus, the helmsman 
Of Aeneas's ship; while awake he steered it 
Well, but when sleep overcame him, 
He fell from the rudder into the sea and drowned 
Within sight of his companions, who afterward 
Greatly mourned for him. 

A lady must be careful not to be too 
Reluctant to play, for she might wait around 
So long that no one would want to offer 
His hand to her. She should seek the seduction 
Of love while youth leads her in that 
Direction, for, when old age assails 
A woman, she loses both the joy 
And the assault of Love. A wise woman 
Will gather the fruit of love in the flower 
Of her age. The unhappy woman loses 
Her time who passes it without 
Enjoying love. And if she disbelieves 
This advice of mine, which I give 
For the profit of all, be sure that she 
Will be sorry when age withers her. But I know 
That women will believe me, particularly those 
Who are sensible, and will stick to our rules and will say 
Many paternosters for my soul 
When I am dead, who now teach 
And comfort them. I know that this lesson 
Will be read in many schools. 

O fair sweet 

134 Northern France 

Son, if you live — for I see well that you 

Are writing down in the book of your heart 

The whole of my teaching, and that, when you depart 

From me, you will read more, if pleasing 

To God, and will become a master 

Like me — if you live I confer on you 

The license to teach, in spite of all 

Chancellors, in chambers or in cellars, in meadow, 

Garden, or thicket, under a tent 

Or behind the tapestries, and to instruct the students 

In wardrobes, storerooms, pantries, and stables, 

If you find no pleasanter places. 

And may my lesson be well taught 

When you have learned it well. 

A woman 
Should be careful not to stay too much 
Shut up, for while she remains indoors 
She is less seen by everybody, her beauty 
Is less well-known, less desired and in demand 
Less. She should go often to the principal 
Church and go visiting, to weddings, on trips, 
At games, feasts, and round dances, for in such places 
The god and goddess of love keep their schools 
And sing mass to their disciples. 

But of course, 
If she is to be admired above others, 
She has to be well dressed. When she is well 
Turned out and goes through the streets, 
She should carry herself well, not too stiffly 
Nor too loosely, neither too upright 
Nor too inclined, but easily and graciously 
In any crowd. She should move her shoulders 
And sides so elegantly that no one might find 
Any movements more beautiful. And she should walk 
Daintily in her pretty little shoes, so well made 
That they fit her feet without any wrinkles 

Whatever. If her dress drags or hangs down near the pavement, 
She should raise it on the sides or in front as if 
To have a little ventilation 

Jean de Menu 135 

Or as if she had the habit of tucking up 

Her gown in order to step more freely. 

Then she must be careful to let all the passers-by 

See the fine shape of her exposed foot. 

And if she is the sort to wear a coat 

She should wear it so that it will not 

Hinder too much the view of the beautiful body 

It covers. She will want to display 

Her body and the cloth in which she is dressed; 

The stuff should be neither too heavy nor light, 

With threads of silver and seed pearls. She will want 

Particularly to show off her purse, which should be 

Exposed for all to see; therefore 

She should take the coat in both hands and widen 

And extend her arms, whether she's on 

A clean street or a muddy one. Remembering 

The wheel which the peacock makes with his tail, 

She should do the same with her coat, to display 

Openly both her body and the fur linings 

Of her clothing, squirrel or other costly fur, 

To all she might see staring at her. 

Now if her face is not handsome, 
She must be clever and show to people 
Her beautiful priceless blond tresses 
And her well-coiffed neck. A lovely head 
Of hair is a very pleasant thing. 

A woman should always take care 
To imitate the she-wolf when she wants 
To steal lambs, for, in order not to fail 
Completely, she has to attack a thousand 
To capture one; she doesn't know which 
She will take before she has taken it. 
Thus a woman ought to spread her nets 
Everywhere in order to catch all men : 
Since she cannot know which of them she may have 
The grace to catch, at least she ought 
To hook on to all of them in order to be sure 
Of having one for herself. If she does so, 
It should never happen that she will have 

136 Northern France 

No catch at all from among the thousands 
Of fools who will rub up against her flanks. 
Indeed she may catch several, for art 
Is a great aid to nature. 

But if she does 
Hook several of those who want to skewer 
Her, let her be careful, however things run, 
Not to make appointments at the same hour 
With two of them. If several were to appear 
Together they would think themselves deceived 
And they might even leave her. An event like this 
Could set her back a long way, for at the least 
She would lose what each had brought her. 
She should never leave them anything 
On which they might grow fat, but plunge them 
Into poverty so great that they may die 
Miserable and in debt; in this way she 
Will be rich, for what remains theirs 
Is lost to her. 

She should not love a poor man, 
For a pauper is good for nothing. Even if he 
Were Ovid or Homer, he wouldn't be worth 
Two drinking mugs. Nor should she love 
A foreign traveler, for his heart is as flighty 
As his body, which lodges in many places; 
No, I advise her not to love a traveler. 
However, if during his stay he offers 
Money or jewels, she should take them all 
And put them in her coffer; then he 
May do as he pleases, in haste or at his leisure. 

She must be very careful not to love ot value 
Any man who is too elegant or haughty 
About his beauty, for it is pride which tempts him. 
The man who pleases himself, never doubt it, 
Incurs the wrath of God; so says Ptolemy, 

I he great lover of knowledge. Such a man 
I las so evil and bitter a heart that he cannot 
Love well. What he says to one woman he says 

fo all. He tricks many to despoil and rob them. 

Jean de Meun 137 

I have seen many complaints of maidens 
Thus deceived. 

And if anyone, 
Honest man or swindler, makes promises, 
Hoping to beg for her love and bind heT 
To him by vows, she may exchange vows, 
But she must be careful not to put 
Herself at his mercy unless she gets hold 
Of the money as well. If he makes any promise 
In writings, she must see if there is any 
Deception or if his good intentions 
Are those of a true heart. She may then write 
An early reply, but not without some delay. 
Delay excites lovers as long 
As it's not too great. 

Again, when she hears 
A lover's request, she should be reluctant 
To grant all her love, yet shouldn't refuse 
Everything, but try to keep him in a state 
Of balance between fear and hope. When he makes 
His demands more pressing and she doesn't yield 
To him her love, which has bound him so strongly, 
She must arrange things, through her strength and craft. 
So that hope grows constantly, little by little 
While fear diminishes, until peace and concord 
Bring the two together. In giving in to him, she, 
Who knows so many wily ruses, 
Should swear by God and by the saints 
That she has never wished to give herself 
To anyone, no matter how well he may have plead; 
Then she should say, "My lord, this 
Is my all; by the faith which I owe to St. Peter 
Of Rome, I give myself to you 
Out of pure love, not because of your gifts. 
The man isn't born for whom I would do this 
For any gift, however greatly he desired it. 
I have refused many a worthy man, for many 
Have gazed adoringly at me. I think 
You must have cast a spell over me; 

138 Northern France 

You have sung me a wicked song." 
Then she should embrace him closely 
And kiss him so that he'll be better deluded. 

But if she wants my advice, she should think 
Only of what she can get. She's a fool 
Who doesn't pluck her lover down 
To the last feather, for the better she can pluck 
The more she'll have, and she'll be more highly 
Valued when she sells herself more dearly. 
Men scorn what they can get for nothing; 
They value it at not a single husk. 
If they lose it, they care little, certainly 
Not as much as does one who has bought it 
At a high price. 

Here, then, are proper ways 
To pluck men : Get your servants, the chambermaid, 
The nurse, your sister, even your mother, 
If she's not too particular, to help on the task 
And do all they can to get the lover 
To give them coats, jackets, gloves, 
Or mittens; like kites, they will plunder 
Whatever they can seize from him, 
So that he may in no way escape from their hands 
Before he has spent his last penny. 
Let him give them money and jewels 
As though he were playing with buttons instead 
Of money. The prey is captured much sooner 
When it is taken by several hands. 



My Lord, Although I Strum and Sing 
Sire citens, j'ai viele 

My Lord, although I strum and sing 
For you and all your company, 

olin Muset 139 

Not so much as a ha'penny 
Has yet repaid my offering. 
My Lord, for shame! 
Thus, by the Virgin shall I swear 
To quit your hire. My purse is bare; 
Alas, alack, my sack's the same! 

My loyalty no bounds would know, 
If only my obedience 
Were crowned with worthy recompense, 
Would you, My Lord, some boon bestow, 

And handsomely! 
For when I venture home, unpaid, 
I cannot pass the ambuscade: 
My wife is there to welcome me! 

"Well, Master Dolt! (Thus she descends 
Upon me!) So! You dare come in 
With empty hands! Where have you been? 
Carousing with your scurvy friends 

All round about! 
See how your sack hangs airily! 
Oh, fie on the society 
That suffers such a knavish lout!" 

But when I have a better day 

And homeward come, she sees the sack 

Heavily hanging on my back, 

Well filled, and me in garments gray, 

Splendidly dressed; 
Then does she lay her spinning staff 
Aside, and with a hearty laugh 
Presses me warmly to her breast. 

My sack she empties in a trice. 

My kitchen-wench, the while, makes haste 

To cook two capons to my taste, 

Served up with garlic-sauce and spice. 

Scarce have I from my horse alit 

140 Northern France 

Than comes my groom to water it. 

My daughter, then, 
(A comely lass) brings me my comb. 
And so I reign within my home, 
Indeed the lordliest of men! 



His Poverty 
La Pauvrete 

I do not know where to begin, 

Except to boldly ask, and in 

God's name, frank king of France, you see 

How you may treat me as your kin, 

In gracious charity, and win 

Grace for thus ending misery. 

One act of kindness cannot sate 

The donor, and my debt is great: 

No one will credit poverty. 

You have been far away of late; 

My earnest pleas were forced to wait; 

And I need help most desperately. 

The home I had I cannot claim, 
For sickness and hunger came 
And banished me to beggary. 
My former friends are friends in name: 
I asked for alms; they dispensed blame 
And bad advice too lavishly. 
Each husbands wisely lest his own 
Possessions die. Good king, my moan 
Must reach, through Afric savagery 
And heathendom, your absent throne. 
Absence has harmed me, left me alone, 
And death has robbed me willfully. 


If it should be, great king, you lack 
All that I need — even a sack 
On which to rest a weary head 
(The straw I lie on breaks my back 
And ribs; a straw bed is a rack) — 
Then I might just as well be dead. 
If I may your attention hold, 
Sire, I am dying of the cold; 
Hungry and frozen, I must tread 
The road from here to Senlis — old, 
Forgotten, homeless, without gold; 
No one so poor; my cloak a shred. 

In Paris, sire, riches surround 

A misery that knows no bound; 

I lack a coin for daily bread. 

With poverty my head is crowned: 

This is the largesse that I found 

In St. Paul's words, which once I read. 

These are the times that almost shake 

Man's faith, his emptied spirit break; 

I beg a father with that dread 

I pray Our Father not forsake 

My trust. Credo; no credit take. — 

Now I lack paper, as my plaint is sped. 


His Repentance 
La Repentance 

Now must I disown poesy, 
For I confess full wretchedly 
That I have practiced it too long; 
And sorely does it grieve my heart 
That never have I turned my art 
To praise the Lord in sacred song. 

142 Northern France 

But rather have I tuned my voice 
To accents of a different choice, 
For naught but worldly mirth outspun 
My rhymes. Oh! Virgin Mother mild, 
Thou who hast borne the Holy Child, 
Pray for me, else I am undone. 

Alas! Too late do I repent 
The folly of a life ill spent 
In idleness, iniquity, 
And earthly joys. Yet if I dare 
Confess my sins, my soul lay bare, 
Even the just will shrink from me. 
I filled my belly well, but not 
With what my labors had begot. 
Worldly success is falsehood's kin! 
And if I claim that ignorance 
Alone kept me from penitence, 
I see no hope of Heaven therein. 

No hope of Heaven! Alas! Yet why 
Lament? The wrong is mine. Did I 
Not take God's priceless offering, 
Intelligence? Was I not wrought 
In His own image? Did He not 
(Most precious gift!) suffer the sting 
Of death, to save my soul? Did He 
Not grant me the ability 
To outwit the Malevolent, 
Accursed jailor who would fain 
Add my soul to his dark domain 
Of ransomless imprisonment? 

In fleshly joys I spent my time, 
Singing my song, rhyming my rhyme, 
To please some with my calumny 
Of others. Thus the King of Sin 
Has chosen me to dwell within 
His realm for all Eternity. 


And if the Maid of Innocence 
Ignores my suppliant penitence, 
Then has my evil heart a wealth 
Of grief bestowed upon me, nor 
Shall any human art restore 
My sickly soul to holy health. 

There is a Doctoress whose skills 

In healing mankind's mortal ills 

Surpass the cures of Lyons' sage 

Physicians, and those of Vienne. 

Her art is infinite; for when 

She would your suffering assuage, 

No wound resists her surgery. 

She cleansed the sainted Mary, she 

In Egypt born, and to the King 

Of Heaven rendered her free from stain. 

Oh! could my wretched soul but gain 

The solace of her comforting! 

Alike, the stout and weak must die. 
What consolation, then, can I 
Expect? What bulwark can I raise 
Against this enemy? I see 
No one so sound and strong that he 
Can long endure; Death lays 
Him sharply down. No age is spared: 
The young are with the old ensnared 
In Death's unyielding grasp. And when 
Our bodies are to dust restored, 
Then stand our souls before the Lord 
To answer for our flaws as men. 

Now I have reached the end, outworn 
With all the sins my soul has borne. 
God grant I be not yet without 
Salvation! For, unceasingly 
Did I compound my infamy; 
And I have heard it said about: 

144 Northern France 

"Long-smolcTring fires burn hot!" I thought 
I could deceive Deceit; I sought 
To vanquish him. Nay, not a whit! 
He reigns supreme, and I retreat, 
Leaving this life, in dark defeat, 
To anyone who prizes it. 


The Dispute of Chariot and the Barber 
La Desfutoison de Chariot et du Barhier 

One day as I was going 

To St. Martin of Auxerre 

Early in the morning 

Before I like to rise 

I came upon Chariot 

Half-way up the road 

Holding the barbers hand 

Yet it was plain as day 

That they were not first cousins. 

Their jokes about each other 

Were coarse, and very true : 

"Chariot, you're up to mischief 

To make some Christian rue 

Your perfidy and treason 

For everyone's aware . 

You only curse to swear 

And have no shame at all." 

"Barber, by the suburb 

Where you ply your hairy trade, 

Your gout is on the rampage, 

It never stops a day; 

St. Lazarus got after you 

And lepered up your face. 

If you want the plague to spare you, 

Don't scorn his holy place." 

"Chariot, by good St. James, 


I'd swear you found a wife. 

Is she some poor defective 

The rabbi gave away? 

You believe as much in Our Lady 

Whose virginity's astray 

As I believe a she-ass has a soul; 

You don't love God or Holy Church." 

"Razorless, scissorless Barber, 

You can't cut hair or shave. 

You have no towels or basins 

Or water-heater paid. 

You're simply good for nothing 

But chewing off my ear. 

If you were overseas, or started off, I'd say 

Maybe he'll do well on the crusades." 

"Chariot, you know all laws, 

You're Jew and Christian both, 

Strutting knight and townsman, 

Or grizzly priest of old. 

You're mackerel and fishing, 

That's what the old folks say: 

By your jokes, you often couple 

Young blood that needs a fling." 

"Barber, the time has come 

To call a spade a spade: 

Your hair will turn snow-white 

Before you quit that trade. 

But you'll die poor and naked 

You're slipping down the stream : 

If people say I'm pimping, 

They'll say you go between." 

"Chariot, Chariot, my handsome friend, 

You condescend to children of the king. 

If you're in the palace, who put you there? 

You're there as much as I. 

You've learned to act half-crazy 

You've greased your palms with gold 

And money's even crazier for you." 

"Barber, now the currants 

And bushes are in thorn: 

146 Northern France 

And here's some news you'll relish: 
Your forehead's sprouting horns. 
It looks as if scarlet berries 
Have ripened on your face: 
They'll turn a pretty crimson 
Before you're dragged away." 
"It's not a touch of leprosy, 
Chariot, it's just pink gout, 
I swear by St. Marie; 
You don't love her for anything; 
You have more faith in Jewry 
Than in him who by his power 
Unbolts the gates of hell." 
"Yet nonetheless if Rutebeuf 
Who's known us these ten years 
Would like to make new ditties, 
Providing we can get him 
To judge the matter fairly 
And only tell the truth, 
Then, if you like, he'll choose 
The better of us two." 
"Lord, by the faith I owe you, 
I can't choose which is best 
But only who's less evil 
From him who's really worst. 
Chariot's not worth a sneeze, 
If you insist on truth, 
He has no more belief or faith 
Than a dog that drags a corpse. 
The barber knows good people 
He serves and honors well 
And splurges heart and money 
To please from here to hell. 
He knows his job so wholly 
That should the need arise 
With flaming checks and phallus 
I Ie'll serve you for a price." 


Adam de La Halle 147 

To the Virgin 
De la Chanson de Nostre Dame 

As the fair sun touches the earth each day, 

Probing each pane 

And warming every room, 

And undimmed brightnesses in every ray 

Fall yet remain, 

So in the Virgin's womb 

She carried God, and fed 

Him whom she nourished: 

Sun, Son; His life, and hers, 

Gives and is given, confers 

The light and warmth of Him 

Which never dim. 



So Much the More as I Draw near My Land 
De tant com "plus approime mon pais 

So much the more as I draw near my land 
does love renew, and all its bonds invoke; 
and things appear more fair as I approach 
and sweeter air blows upon gentler folk. 

Having been exiled long — 
yet never in thought — 
for old-times' sake I sought 
converse with honored ladies, here; 
and found in one of them a grace 
recalling my old Lady's face; 
and this had charm to make me find 
delight in her fair countenance. 

Thus does the tigress when her cub is seized, 
gulled by her own reflection in a glass, 

148 Northern France 

think she has found the very thing she sought, 
and from her lets its captor freely pass. 

Do not pass thus from me, 

Oh Lady dear, 

nor put me from your mind 

for my long tarrying here. 

It is through memory of you 

that in a likeness I forget 

myself; for all in you are set 

my heart and my hope's sustenance. 


To All My Dainty Loves, Goodbye 
A Dieu comant amourettes 

To all my dainty loves, goodbye, 

for I depart 

against my will into a foreign land. 

Sweet things, I leave with bitter sigh 

and heavy heart 

to all my dainty loves, goodbye. 

You should be little queens if I 
played the king's part 
and could command. 

To all my dainty loves, goodbye, 

for I depart 

against my will into a foreign land. 


cob Bar Juda, Hazak 149 

All Too Much I Long to See 
Trop desk a voir 

All too much I long to see 
her I prize. 

I cannot change or turn away: 
all too much I long to see; 

both by night and by day 
poor heart cries: 
all too much I long to see 
her I prize. 


Love and My Lady, Too 
Amours et ma Dame aussi 

Love and my Lady, too, 
hands-joined, for favor's grace I sue; 
from your great beauty springs my rue, 
Love and my Lady, too. 

Hands-joined, for favor's grace I sue. 
if prayer can no pity woo, 
from your great beauty springs my rue, 
Love and my Lady, too. 


lCOB bar juda, hazak 

Sorely Tried Is Israel, the Hapless Folk 
Mont sont a mecchief lsr[ael], Veegaree gent 

Sorely tried is Israel, the hapless folk, 
And not to blame if overcome by rage, 

150 Northern France 

For many a valiant, wise, and gentle man 

Was burned, who could not buy his life with silver. 

Our joy has fled, and with it our delight 

In those who studied Scripture night and day 

And pursued their task without respite: 

Now they are burnt and dead: each acknowledged God. 

From the wicked people this outrage came: 
Well may we change our color pale or bright: 
Lord! Take pity and hear our cries, our tears! 
For naught have we lost many an upright man. 

To the stake was led Rab Isaac of Chatillon 

Who for God left flush with rents and houses. 

He returns to God. Rich was he in properties, 

Good author of comments on the Talmud and the Bible. 

When his noble wife saw her husband burn, 

The loss hit her hard: she screamed with all her might: 

"I will die the death my lover died!" 

She was great with child; her suffering was great. 

Then her sons were burned, one big, one small. 
The younger, startled by the rising flames, 
Cried, "Haro, I'm burning up!" And the elder: 
"You'll go to Paradise, I promise that." 

The daughter-in-law was so fair, they sent for a priest: 
"We'll give you a squire who'll hold you very dear." 
Then she started spitting in their face: 
"I won't leave God— you can flay me alive!" 

With one voice all together their song rose 

loud and clear 
Like celebrants performing at a feast; 
Their hands were tied; they could not dance; 
Never did men leave life so well. 

cob Bar Juda, Hazak 151 

A bridegroom was dragged swiftly to the fire 
And sang the prayer of sanctity on high: 
He gave the others courage; well born was he, 
Samson by name, son-in-law of the Scribe. 

After him came Solomon; a victim highly prized 

Who, thrown into the fire now ablaze, 

Did not deny his body to the Lord, 

But suffered death for love of Him, prepared. 

The wicked hangman frowned and burned them all 

One after the other. Then spoke a saint: 

"Stoke it higher, wicked man!" And the hangman dared 

to curse him. 
It was beautiful, the death of Baruch d'Avirey. 

A noble man there was, who then began to weep, 

And said: "I weep for my poor children, 

Not myself." They burned him on the spot. 

It was Simon, the Scribe, who always prayed so well. 

Preachers came and fetched Rab Isaac Cohen : 
"Let him abjure, or he will perish, too." 
He said: "What are you asking? I want to die for God. 
I am a Cohen. 1 1 give my body unto God." 

"You can't escape. We've got you. 
Become a Christian." And he answered, "No! 
For dogs I won't forsake His Holy Name." 
He was called Haiim, 2 the master of Brinon. 

Another saint 3 was now brought to the pyre: 
They stirred slow flames until they flickered high 
With all his heart he called to God and prayed 
And suffered torture sweetly in His Name. 

^ohen == priest, in Hebrew. 2 Haiim = Living, in Hebrew. 

3 Kadosh = saint, usually in the sense of martyr. 

I5 2 Northern France 

Vengeful God, jealous God, avenge us on the wicked! 
Waiting for Thy vengeance, day ne'er seems to end! 

When we sit in our houses and walk by the way 

We are prepared and ready 

To pray with all our hearts. 

Answer us, Lord, we beseech Thee! 



As Lilies White, More Crimson Than the Rose 
Blanche com lys, flus que rose vermeille 

As lilies white, more crimson than the rose, 
Resplendent as a ruby from the East, 
Your beauty is; now as I gaze it glows 
As lilies white, more crimson than the rose; 
My senses are ravished and my spirit knows 
Her it must serve, by love's law unreleased: 
As lilies white, more crimson than the rose, 
Resplendent as a ruby from the East. 


If I Must Feel Your Wrath Eternally 
Se vos courrous me dure longuement 

If I must feel your wrath eternally, 

I fear my days their waning measure spend. 

Thus will you see me perish wretchedly 
If I must feel your wrath eternally. 

So grows my passion, unrelentingly, 
That life itself is yours, to add or end. 

Guillaume de Machaut 153 

If I must feel your wrath eternally, 

I fear my days their waning measure spend. 


Rich in Love and Beggar to My Heart 
Riches d'amour et meridians d'amie 

Rich in love and beggar to my heart 
Poor in hope and surging with desire 
Full of grief and destitute of help 
Far from pity, greedy for renown, 
Love makes me so, and I fear death 
When my lady hates and I adore her. 

I feel no balm is curative 

However far I seek it: 

For love so blossoms here within 

That I can't revel or repent it. 

I can't find death or happiness 

Or treasure, short of grief, 

When my lady hates and I adore her. 

But the wish for my sweet enemy 
Will gladly, humbly suffer, 
For great's the honor done to me 
Despite her, when I love her. 
And if love wills my mortal end 
For cherishing, naught better, 
When my lady hates and I adore her. 


154 Northern France 

I Curse the Hour, the Moment and the Day 
)e maudis Veure et le temps et le jour 

I curse the hour, the moment and the day, 

The week, the place, the month, the tide, the year, 

And the twin eyes which fell a willing prey 

To that fair lady who hath killed my cheer. 

I curse my heart, too, and my thought, my sheer 

Loyalty and desire and love whose sway 

Abandons to its perilous dismay 

My grieving heart in this strange country here. 

I curse the welcome, the allure, the gay 

Grace of the glance mine heart hath grown to fear, 

Which love and passion now do burn and flay, 

I curse her hour of birth, her insincere 

Mock semblance and her falsity made clear, 

Her monstrous pride and harshness which betray 

No wraith of tenderness that might allay 

My grieving heart in this strange country here. 

And I curse Fortune and her traitorous way, 
The planet and the lore and the career 
Which led my foolish heart so far astray 
That, loving her, I held her service dear. 
Yet pray I God maintain her fame austere, 
To guard her goods and land and honor aye, 
To grant her His forgiveness who did slay 
My grieving heart in this strange country here. 


Strike Down My Heart with But a Single Blow 
Faites mon cuer tout a un couf morir 

Strike down my heart with but a single blow; 

Miladv, let this be my recompense, 


Guillciume de Machaut 155 

Since you have naught of pleasure to bestow. 
Strike down my heart with but a single blow, 

For better thus, than to endure my woe, 
Hopeless of cure, bereft of my defense. 
Strike down my heart with but a single blow; 
Milady, let this be my recompense. 


Milady, Comely, Candid, Worldly-Wise 
Douce dame, cointe, afferte et jolie 

Milady, comely, candid, worldly-wise, 
With all my soul I wish to serve you well. 

Fie, fie on arrant fool who "folly" cries — 
Milady, comely, candid, worldly-wise — 

When thus your sweet enchantments tyrannize 
My heart, happy in servitude to dwell. 
Milady, comely, candid, worldly-wise, 
With all my soul I wish to serve you well. 


Open Your Eyes, Milady, Run Me Through 
Partues moy a Vouvrir de vos yeux 

Open your eyes, Milady, run me through, 
You who feel no compassion for my pain! 

If I can earn no kinder fate from you, 
Open your eyes, Milady, run me through. 

Alas, I fear you can naught better do 
For hopeless love. Give ear to my refrain: 

156 Northern France 

"Open your eyes, Milady, run me through, 
You who feel no compassion for my pain!" 


Ah! How I Fear, Milady, Lest I Die 
De morir sui pour vous en grant yaour 

Ah! how I fear, Milady, lest I die 
For love of you and for my eagerness; 

Your willing subject, nay, your slave am I. 
Ah! how I fear, Milady, lest I die. 

For when I may not cast my anxious eye 
Upon your all-alluring comeliness, 
Ah! how I fear, Milady, lest I die 
For love of you and for my eagerness. 



Be Gallant, Mannerlie and Pure of Heart 
Ales le coer courtois et honnourable 

Be gallant, mannerlie and pure of heart, 

Meek and discreet, tacit and fraught with glee, 

Sincere and moderate; for thine high part 

Be gallant, mannerlie and pure of heart. 

Do as may be, indifferent of art, 

Then love and ladys fair shall pity thee. 

Be gallant, mannerlie and pure of heart. 


Jean Froissart 157 

Love, O Love, What Wouldst Thou Make of Me? 
Amours, Amours, que voles de mot faire? 

Love, O Love, what wouldst thou make of me 
Who in thee find naught save extravagance? 

1 know thee not nor what thy traffick be. 

O Love, O Love, what wouldst thou make of me? 
Silence, speech, prayer — which choose I of these three? 
Make answer, thou, whose ways are of fair chance! 
O Love, O Love, what wouldst thou make of me? 


Of All Known Flowers, Men Hold the 

Rose Most Rare 
Sus toutes fleurs tient on la rose a belle 

Of all known flowers, men hold the rose most rare, 

And, after it, I think, the violet; 

Lilies are proud, corncockles debonair, 

The lofty gladiol is comelier yet; 

Many a wight treasures the columbine 

Or deems the lily-of-the-valley fine, 

Or prizeth peonies, since all are sweet; 

But for mine heart, one choice alone is mine: 

Of all known flowers, I love the Marguerite. 

Let rain or hail or hoarfrost fill the air, 
And be the season dry or harsh or wet, 
This flower is ever gracile, fresh and fair, 
All dainty, pink-and-white, earth's amoret, 
Perfect in bud, in blossoming divine, 
Never to pale, to perish, or to pine; 
For him who reads the writ upon its sheet, 
Kindness and beauty rise from every line. 
Of all known flowers, I love the Marguerite. 

158 Northern France 

As I recall this flower, excess of care 
Burdens my soul, for how shall I forget 
Its heart, a stronghold, with that turret where 
Rise obstacles I ceaselessly beset? 
Daylong, nightlong, I seek to countermine, 
Yet will her love not forward my design 
Nor yield one sconce or fort though I repeat 
Attack upon attack to storm this shrine . . . 
Of all known flowers, I love the Marguerite. 



Lover, as God May Comfort Me 
Amy si Dieu me confort 

Lover, Lover, as God may comfort me, 

So shalt thou boast my heart and soul, 

In that I love thee mightily. 

Lover, as God may comfort me, 

Lay care by and anxiety 

Since thine I am, entire and whole — 

Lover, as God may comfort me, 

So shalt thou boast my heart and soul. 


Without My Heart, Love, Thou Shalt Not Depart 
Sans coeur de my fas vous ne fartirez 

Without my heart, love, thou shalt not depart, 
Nay but thy leman's heart shall go with thee 
To lie deep in thee wheresoe'er thou art — 
Without my heart, love, thou shalt not depart. 
Well shalt thou harbor it from duel or smart 
And dearly prize thine own for company . . . 

Eustache Deschamps 159 

Without my heart, love, thou shalt not depart, 
Nay but thy leman's heart shall go with thee. 



One Day the Rats of All Degrees 

Je treuve quentre les souris 

One day the rats of all degree 
Convened in wondrous parliament 
Against the cats, their foe, to see 
How to contrive, as matters went, 
To live securelv. This intent 
Inspired much speech of this and that, 
Till one remarked in argument: 
"Which one of us shall bell the cat?" 

Since none was found to disagree, 
They voted to adjourn, content, 
Then met a lowland mouse. As he 
Asked news of what was imminent, 
They vaunted their accomplishment: 
Their foe, beguiled and vanquished, at 
His neck a bell, was impotent! 
Which one of us shall bell the cat? 

A gray rat ventured: "As for me, 
I find this hard of management!" 
'Who shall our gallant savior be?" 
The mouse inquired. Incontinent, 
Each one begged off with eloquent 
Excuses, and the plan fell flat, 
Though all joined in the sentiment: 
Which one of us shall bell the cat? 

Prince, counsel may be excellent, 

160 Northern France 

But very often, like the rat, 
We had best look to the event: 
"Which one of us shall bell the cat?" 


But Is There No Flower, Perfume or Violet? 
Or, nest-il fleur, odeur ne violete? 

But is there no flower, perfume or violet, 
Tree or eglantine, however sweet within, 
Beauty or kindness, however perfect a thing, 
Man or woman, however fair or gentle, 
Curly or blond, strong, frank or lovely, 
Wise or foolish, that by Nature has been made, 
Which in its time will not be old or stale, 
Which in the end death will not pursue, 
And when old, will not lose its fame? 
Old age is final, youth is the time of grace. 

The perfumed flower of May delights all men 
Who smell it, but for little more than a day, 
For in a moment comes the waiting wind 
And makes it fall, or cuts it into two; 
The lives of trees and people pass like this, 
Nothing stable by Nature is decreed: 
All things must die that have been born; 
A poor access of fever snuffs out man, 
Or old age, whose limits have been set. 
Old age is final, youth is the time of grace. 

How then can any maid or mistress do 
So great a harm unto her lover's love 
When they will wither all, as grass beneath 
Our feet? It is pure madness. Why don't we then 
Have pity on each other? When all are rotten — 
Both those who never loved and those who did — 

Eustache Deschamps 161 

Those who refused will be proclaimed weak, 
And those who gave will have rosy faces, 
And their fame will spread throughout the world. 
Old age is final, youth is the time of grace. 

Prince, each man in his youthful age 
Should grasp the time that is allotted it. 
When old he should do the contrary things. 
So both ages will be dear to him, 
Nor will he be too proud when he's in love. 
Old age is final, youth is the time of grace. 


Am I, Am I, Am I Fair? 
Suis-je, suis-je, suis-je belle? 

Am I, am I, am I fair? 

It seems as far as I can tell 

My brow is fair, my face is sweet. 

And my mouth is red and neat; 

Tell me if I'm fair. 

I have green eyes and small eyebrows, 
My nose is delicate and blond my hair, 
My chin is round, my throat is white; 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 

My breasts are firm and carried high, 
My arms are long, my fingers slim, 
And my waist is small and trim; 
Tell me if I'm fair. 

I have tiny rounded feet, 

Good shoes and pretty clothes I wear, 

I am gay and full of mirth; 

Tell me if I'm fair. 

1 62 Northern France 

I have cloaks fur-lined in gray, 
I have hats and trimmings fine, 
I have many a silver pin; 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 

I've silken sheets and tapestry, 

I've sheets of white and beige and gold, 

Many a dainty thing I hold; 

Tell me if I'm fair. 

I'm fifteen only, I tell you; 
Many my pretty treasures are 
If I keep the key with care; 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 

Those who would be my friends 
Must indeed be brave 
If such a maid they'd have; 
Tell me if I'm fair. 

Before God, I promise too, 
That if I live I'll be most true 
To him — if I don't falter; 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 

If he be courteous and kind, 
Valiant, well read and gay, 
He shall always have his way; 
Tell me if I'm fair. 

It is an earthly paradise 
To have a woman always near 
Who is so blossoming and fresh; 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 

Among yourselves, faint-hearts, 
Think on what I say; 

Christine de Pisan 163 

Here ends my virelay : 
Am I, am I, am I fair? 


:hristine de pisan 

Ye Gods! of Time I Am Weary 
He Dieux! que le temps m'anuyel 

Ye gods! of time I am weary, 

A day seems like a week; 

Than the winter's rain more dreary 

This season weighs on me. 

Alas, I have an ague, 

With dizziness it fills me, 

And loads with sorrow too: 

This, sickness does to me. 

More bitter than sweat is my taste, 
My color's unhealthy and pale; 
I need support when I cough, 
And my breath does often fail. 
And when the fever takes me, 
So little strength I feel, 
I can only drink herb tea: 

This, sickness does to me. 

To escape I've no intent, 
For when I walk, 'tis little, 
And not a league's extent; 
But in a crowded room 
They still must make me stay; 
And: "Support me, I am weak/' 
I often need to say. 

This, sickness does to me. 

Doctors, I'm full of ills, 
Cure me, I'm bereft 

164 Northern France 

Of health, which is far from me. 
This, sickness does to me. 


You Have Done So Much by Your 

Great Gentleness 
Tant avez fait far votre grant doulgor 

You have done so much by your great gentleness, 

Most gentle friend, that you have conquered me, 

No longer may I cry out or protest, 

Nor will there be defenses set by me, 

For love commands by gentle mastery, 

And I too wish it; for, so God help me, 

'Tis madness, after all, should I consider 

Refusing one who loves so graciously. 
And I have hope that there is so much worth 
In you, that my love shall well seated be; 
As for beauty, grace and all honor, 
There is so much that there should rightly be 
Enough, if it be right to choose you above 
All, when you deserve to have much more; 
So were I wrong, when so much does persuade me, 

Refusing one who loves so graciously. 

If my subtle gentle heart can hold 
You and give to you my love, it begs 
That no deceit or falsehood in you be, 
For everything subdues me utterly: 
Your gentle bearing, your calm behavior, 
And your most gentle, loving, lovely eyes; 
So far would I be wrong, in any wise 

Refusing one who loves so graciously. 

My gentle love, whom I love best, and prize, 
I have such pleasure telling you alway 

Christine de Pisan 165 

That by Reason I reproved should be 

For refusing one who loves so graciously. 


Alone Am I, Alone I Wish to Be 
Seitlette suis, el seulette veuil estre 

Alone am I, alone I wish to be, 
Alone my gentle love has left me, 
Alone am I without friend or master, 
Alone am I, in sorrow and in anger, 
Alone am I, ill at ease, in languor, 
Alone am I, more lost than anyone, 
Alone am I, left without a lover. 

Alone am I standing at door or window, 

Alone am I in a corner creeping, 

Alone am I to feed myself with weeping, 

Alone am I suffering or at rest, 

Alone am I, and this pleases me the best, 

Alone am I imprisoned in my chamber, 

Alone am I, left without a lover. 

Alone am I everywhere, by every hearth, 
Alone am I, wherever I go or be, 
Alone am I more than anything on earth, 
Alone am I, by all men left alone, 
Alone am I, most cruellv cast down, 
Alone am I often full of weeping, 
Alone am I, left without a lover. 

Princes, now has my pain begun, 
Alone am I, to deepest mourning nigh, 
Alone am I, gloomier than the darkest dye, 
Alone am I, left without a lover. 


1 66 Northern France 

Now Has Come the Gracious Month of May 
Or est venu le tres gracieux mois 

Now has come the gracious month of May 
The gay, who brings such bountiful delights 
That these meadows, bushes and these woods 
Are laden all with greenery and flowers, 

And each thing does rejoice. 
Among these fields all blossoms and turns green, 
And nothing there but does forget its grief, 
For delight in the lovely month of May. 

The little birds sing on their way for joy, 
With one heart all things do rejoice, 
Except for me, alas! My grief is great 
Because I am far distant from my love; 

And I can feel no joy; 
With the season's mirth my sorrow grows; 
As you will know if you have ever loved, 
For delight in the lovely month of May. 

And so with frequent weeping I must mourn 
For him, from whom I have no help; 
The grievous hurts of love I now more deeply 
Feel: the stings, th'attacks, the tricks and turns, 

In this sweet time than ever 
I have before; for all conspires to change 
The great desire I once too strongly felt, 
For delight in the lovely month of May. 


Ah Moon, You Shine Too Long 
He, lune trof luis longuement 

Ah moon, you shine too long, 
You do the honeyed joys remove, 
Given true lovers by Love. 

Christine de Pisan 167 

Your brightness does much wrong 

My heart, desiring love; 

Ah moon, you shine too long. 

For you are too revealing 
Of me and the sweets of love; 
Neither of us grateful prove. 
Ah moon, you shine too long. 


Sweet Lady Fair 
Plaisant et belle 

Sweet lady fair, 
Wherein does rest 
My heart, and where 
As in a nest 
Lie tightly pressed 
Kindness and grace, 
Grant me thy grace. 

More fresh and clear 
Than the rose is blest, 
To plaintive tear 
From me expressed, 
Do not molest 
Pity's grace; 
Grant me thy grace 

Ah, turtle dear, 
Shy in thy nest, 
I beg thee fair, 
In heart's distress, 
I dare express 
My love, no less; 
Grant me thy grace. 

1 68 Northern France 

So now unless 
Thy heart repress 
The desire I trace, 
Grant me thy grace. 


Alone in Martyrdom I Have Been Left 

Seulete ma laissie en grant martyre 

Alone in martyrdom I have been left 

In the desert of this world, that's full of sadness, 

By my sweet love, who held my heart 

In sorrowless joy and in perfect gladness; 

But he is dead, and such deep griefs oppress 

Me, my weary heart such sorrows gnaw, 

I shall bewail his death for evermore. 

What can I ever do but weep and sigh for 
My departed love, what wonder is this? 
For when my heart profoundly ponders how 
I lived secure and without bitterness, 
Since childhood and early youthfulness 
With him — at me such sufferings gnaw 
I shall bewail his death for evermore. 

As the turtledove without her mate does turn 

To dry things only, nor cares more for greenness; 

As the ewe that the wolf seeks to kill 

Is terrified, by her shepherd left defenseless; 

So am I left in great distress 

By my dear love whose loss to me is sore; 

I shall bewail his death for evermore. 


Christine de Pisan 169 

To Sing with Joy from out a Sorrowing Heart 
De triste cuer chanter joyeusement 

To sing with joy from out a sorrowing heart 
And laugh while mourning, hard it is to bear, 
To show the opposite of all one's care, 
Nor betray a hint of any painful smart, 

This must I do, nor keep myself apart, 
But needs must — to hide my sad affair — 
Sing with joy from out a sorrowing heart. 

For secretly I carry in my heart 
That grief that brings me most despair, 
Therefore must I, to keep men's silence fair, 
Laugh while I weep and with bitterest art 
Sing with joy from out a sorrowing heart. 


I Will No Longer Serve You 
]e ne te veuil flus servir 

I will no longer serve you, 
Love, to God I leave you. 
You would too much subject me 
And pay me scurvily; 
Torment for hire you give me. 
It is a hard thing to bear: 
I will not stand it more. 

To win favor from you 
I served you faithfully, 
But now cannot continue 
Service, for you grievously 
Torment me, so briefly 

17° Northern France 

Prefer I to withdraw: 
I will not stand it more. 

Who binds himself to you 
And gives himself completely, 
Then down and up does go 
If bid accordingly, 
Must do so painfully 
If my memory is sure. 
I will not stand it more. 


The Gods and Goddesses, Those Great 
Jadis far amours amoient 

The gods and goddesses, those great 

Servants of Love, were diligent, 

As Ovid tells, to celebrate 

Love's rites — and suffered discontent 

And woes of love. But true intent 

And faith they kept, left none aggrieved, 

If ancient fables be believed. 

They left Olympus for some mate 
Of lowly earth, in their descent 
Impetuous to participate 
In earthly joys, with quick consent 
Embracing them, indifferent 
To costs of all such zeal achieved 
If ancient fables be believed. 

Delights of love could subjugate 
Enchantress and nymph; immortals spent 
Time, strength, and wealth immoderate 
On maids and shepherds, earthward went 
Bestowing boons munificent 

Christine de Pisan 171 

On those whose favor they received 
If ancient fables be believed. 

So, ladies, lords, submit, assent 
To love, nor seek to be reprieved 
From service proved so excellent 
If ancient fables be believed. 


If I'm in Church More Often Now 
Se souvent vais au moustier 

If I'm in church more often now 
It's just that I can see her there 
Fresh as new-opened roses are. 

Why gossip of it, why endow 

It with such consequence? Why stare 

[f I'm in church more often now? 

Where I may go — or when — or how 
It is to come more near to her. 
Fools call me fool! It's whose affair 
If I'm in church more often now? 


My Heart Is Captive to Cray, Laughing Eyes 
Rians vairs yeidx qui mon cuer aves fris 

My heart is captive to gray, laughing eyes, 
To the entrapment of your boldest stare; 
The happy victim of your sweetest snare, 
I give myself to you, in willing wise. 

17 2 Northern France 

What is the ransom price for such a prize? 
One cannot tot its worth, yet does not care; 
My heart is captive to gray, laughing eyes. 

You are so sweet, so pleasant a surprise, 
That no man lives, however weighed by care, 
In all the world, but by your glance so rare 
Recaptures peace, gains calmness as reprise: 
My heart is captive to gray, laughing eyes. 



Most Foolish Fools, Oh Foolish Mortal Men 
O folz des folz, et les folz mortels hommes 

Most foolish fools, oh foolish mortal men 
Who put such trust in Fortune's merchandise 
On this earth, in this land where we live, 
Can you call a single thing your own? 
There is nothing here belongs to you, 
Except the fair gifts of grace and nature. 
If Fortune then, through some happenstance 
Deprives you of the things you think are yours, 
She does no wrong, but acts with simple justice, 
For you had nothing the day that you were born. 

No longer leave your naps of deepest slumber 
In your own bed, by dark and shadowy night, 
To gather riches, great and deep in number, 
Nor covet anything beneath the moon, 
Nothing between Paris and Pampelune, 
But only that which every creature needs 
To gain his livelihood, just that, no more. 
Let it be enough to win renown, 

Alain Chartier 173 

And carry a good name to the tomb: 

For you had nothing the day that you were born. 

The joyous fruit of trees, the apples too, 

In the age when everything was held in common, 

The fine honey, the acorns and the gums 

Were enough and more for every man and woman : 

For no dispute or rancor was among them. 

Be happy in the heat and in the frost, 

And accept Fortune, gentle and secure. 

As for your losses, wear not deep mourning for them, 

Except in reason, jusdy and in moderation, 

For you had nothing the day that you were born. 

If fortune does any wrong to you, 

It is her right, indeed, you must not blame her, 

Even though she strip you of your shirt: 

For you had nothing the day that you were born. 


Almighty God, Who Made the Noble State 
Dieu tout puissant, de qui noblesse vient 

Almighty God, who made the noble state, 
Whose hands have molded all perfection, 
Sustained and nourished all He did create 
With providential, kind protection, 
Ordained for everyone's direction 
To keep in peace a land worth such endeavor — 
For one, mastery; others, subjection — 
Maintaining faith, respecting justice ever. 

He who has highest honor by dictate 
Of heaven and thus holds domination 
Is also most severely bound to hate 
Lack in himself of true affection, 

174 Northern France 

Respectful awe, and deep devotion, 
Shame for all sinful acts which might grace sever; 
To act always with good intention, 
Maintaining faith, respecting justice ever. 

He thus is noble who commends his fate — 

With no false boast, no self-deception — 

To God: obedience a willing trait 

And ways divine his firm confession. 

He who gives variant attention 

Betrays his noble name, wounds God, and never 

Holds to a clear-defined profession, 

Maintaining faith, respecting justice ever. 

Lord, serf, rich, poor fall the possession 
Of death at last, having served God; but never 
May lord neglect his highest station, 
Maintaining faith, respecting justice ever. 



News Has Been Spread in France Concerning Me 
Nouvelles out couru en France 

News has been spread in France concerning me 
In various regions how that I was dead 
Which filled some men with no uncertain glee, 
Those wrongly hating me; and it is said 
That others were truly discomforted, 
Who loved me with a loyal inclination, 
As real and honest friends do without fail, 
Wherefore I now make public proclamation 
That this mouse here, at least, is live and hale. 

From hurt and harm I have, thank God! been free, 
Healthy of limb and unimpaired of head, 

Charles a" Orleans 175 

I spend my time hoping that I may see 
Long-slumbering peace at last awakened. 
So may it flourish everywhere and spread 
Its happiness to each and every nation, 
Therefore may Heaven curse all who bewail 
That great and happy news with desolation: 
That this mouse here, at least, is live and hale. 

Youth still governs my being puissantly 
Though age makes efforts with accustomed dread 
To grasp me in its cruel mastery, 
But, for the while, its witchery is sped; 
Too far removed I, from an oldster's bed 
To give my heirs due cause for lamentation. 
Praise God who gave me power to prevail 
In strength, in fortitude and in such station 
That this mouse here, at least, is live and hale. 

None need mourn me or prav for my salvation r 
Gray cloth was ever cheaper by the bale, 
So let all men know without hesitation 
That this mouse here, at least, is live and hale. 


Pray for Peace, Oh Gentle Virgin Mary 
Pries four faix, Aoulce Vierge Marie 

Pray for peace, oh gentle Virgin Mary, 

Queen of heaven and the world's mistress, 

Set to praying through your courtesy 

The company of Saints — then turn your skillfulness 

Towards your Son, beseeching his greatness 

To look with pleasure on his people 

Whom with his blood so willingly he bought, 

And outlaw war which brings all things to naught; 

176 Northern France 

Cease not your prayer, leave not for weariness, 
But pray for peace that joy's own treasure is. 

Pray, all bishops and holy men of God, 
You monks and friars, sleep not in idleness, 
Pray, all clerks who follow the priesthood, 
For power of war will make all learning cease; 
Your churches will be all destroyed — unless 
You help. God's service you must leave 
When you can dwell in it in peace no more; 
Pray so earnestly that God may quickly hear, 
The Church's will is to command you this; 
Pray for peace that joy's own treasure is. 

Pray, all princes who have sovereign rights, 

Kings, dukes, counts, lords full of nobleness, 

Gentlemen and company of knights; 

For evil men are trampling greatness, 

And holding in their hands your wealthiness, 

Your quarrels let them rise to high degree, 

This, every day, is seen with clarity; 

They are rich with gold and property 

Which you should hold and for your people use; 

So pray for peace that joy's own treasure is. 

Pray, all people suffering tyranny, 
Your overlords are showing such weakness 
They can no longer keep their sovereignty 
O'er you; nor help your great distress; 
Loyal merchants, the saddle hard does press 
Upon your backs, each man does threaten you 
So that your usual trade you may not ply, 
For you have neither passage safe nor way 
Through which to pass: your path in peril is; 
So pray for peace that joy's own treasure is. 

Pray, all gallants in joyful company, 
Wishing to spend your money with largesse; 

Charles d'Orleans 177 

War keeps your purses empty constantly. 

Pray, all lovers who wish in mirthfulness 

To serve your loves; for war with its harshness 

Hinders your visits to your mistresses, 

And oftentimes will make them change their mind: 

And when you think you have the rein, you'll find 

A stranger comes and takes it to be his. 

So pray for peace, that joy's own treasure is. 

That God Almighty may our comfort be, 
Let all that lives on earth, in sky, or sea, 
Pray to him, for each thing His care is; 
Only through Him can evil's ending be; 
So pray for peace that joy's own treasure is. 


Summer Has Sent His Minions on 

Les fourriers d'Este sont venus 

Summer has sent his minions on 
His spacious mansion to prepare 
With arras woven everywhere 
Of leaves and flowers, to spread upon 

The earth green carpetry of lawn 
And mead; to courts once cold and bare 
Summer has sent his minions on. 

Those folk but lately sad and wan 
Have health, praise God, are freed from care. 
Then go your way, plague of the year, 
Winter; your time is past. Begone! 

178 Northern France 

Summer has sent his minions on 
His spacious mansion to prepare. 


Away with You! Begone! Begone! 
Ales vous ant, ales, ales 

Away with you! Begone! Begone, 
Gray Melancholy, Grief, Despair! 
How could you dream you could ensnare 
Me always as you once have done"? 

Your stern dominion I disown; 
Reason shall master it, I swear. 
Away with you! Begone! Begone, 
Gray Melancholy, Grief, Despair! 

If with your retinue aaon 
You would revisit me, forbear! 
I pray God curse you and declare 
Your claims all void from this day on. 
Away with you! Begone! Begone, 
Gray Melancholy, Grief, Despair! 


Lovers, Beware the Dart That Flies 
Gardez le trait de la fenestre 

Lovers, beware the dart that flies 
From windows as through streets you go, 
For more swift to wound it is 
Than arrow from arbalest or bow. 
Look neither to your right nor left 
As you pass by, but keep eyes low; 

Charles d'Orleans 179 

Lovers, beware the dart that flies 

From windows as through streets you go. 

If you have no doctor, sir, 

When you feel the piercing blow, 

God alone can help you now, 

Send for the priest, you are Death's prize; 

Lovers, beware the dart that flies. 


The Weather Has Laid Aside His Cloak 
he temfs a laissie son manteau 

The weather has laid aside his cloak 

Of wind and frost and rain, 
And has clothed himself with embroidery 

Of sunshine clear and fine. 

Every beast and bird 
In his own tongue shouts and sings. 
The weather has laid aside his cloak 

Of wind and frost and rain. 

River, stream and spring 
Are wearing for gay livery 
Silver and golden jewelry, 

All wear new clothes again. 
The weather has laid aside his cloak. 


While We Watch These Flowers Fair 
En regardant ces belles fleurs 

While we watch these flowers fair, 
With whom the Springtime is in love, 
Each of them makes gay her face, 
Painting it with charming hues. 

180 Northern France 

When flowers are embalmed with scent, 
All our hearts with new life move, 
While we watch these flowers fair, 
With whom the Springtime is in love. 

Birds turn into dancers now 
Under many a flowering bough, 
And form a joyful choir 
With descant voices and with tenors, 
While we watch these flowers fair. 


In the Book of My Thought 
Dedens mon livre de fensee 

In the book of my thought 
I found my heart writing 
Sorrow's true story 
Illumined with tears. 

Destroying the well-loved 
Image of sweet delight; 
In the book of my thought 
I found my heart writing. 

Ah! where had my heart found it? 
Pain and toil stained him 
With great drops of sweat 
As he toiled day and night 
In the book of my thought. 


Charles d'Grleans 181 

Come, Let Us Taste Delight 
Alons nous esbatre 

Come, let us taste delight, 
My heart, just you and I, 
Leave Care alone 
To carry on his fight. 

He always will feel spite, 
Quarrel, and know not why: 
Come, let us taste delight, 
My heart, just you and I. 

Men should turn to smite 
And point at you, 
If you should let yourself 
Fall under his might: 
Come, let us taste delight. 


I Love Him Who Loves Me, Otherwise None 
j'ayme qui m'ayme, autrement non 

I love him who loves me, otherwise none; 
And nonetheless, I hate no one, 
But do wish that all went well 
According to good Reason's rule. 

I talk too much, alas! 'tis true! 

But still, I hold unto this rule: 

I love him who loves me, otherwise none, 

And nonetheless I hate no one. 

Pansies, for thought, upon his hood 
My poor heart has strewn : 

1 82 Northern France 

Directly from his side I come, 

He has given me this tune: 

I love him who loves me, otherwise none. 


Who's There, My Heart? — It Is We, Your Eyes 

Cueur, qu'est-ce la? — Ce sommes-nous voz yeux 

Who's there, my heart? — It is we, your eyes. 
What do you bring? — A goodly crop of news. 
What sort of news? — Fair news, and of love. 
None for me, indeed, God help me, no! 

Whence do you come? — From many a pleasant place. 
What happens there? — Bargains in cheap strife. 
Who's there, my heart? — It is we, your eyes. 
What do you bring? — A goodly crop of news. 

News for young men? — But it's for old men too? 
Your news is a]l stale. — It's long since there were such. 
But I know it, I know it. — Listen to it, at least. 
Peace, I would sleep. — You act not for the best. 
Who's there, my heart? — It is we, your eyes. 


Ah, God, Who Made Her Good to See 
Dieu, qui la fait loon regarder 

Ah, God, who made her good to see, 
So gracious, beautiful, and sweet; 
With the great gifts she has, how meet 
That all in highest praise agree. 

Charles d'Orleans 183 

How could one tire of her, lovely 
And ever-fresh from head to feet? 
Ah, God, who made her good to see, 
So gracious, beautiful, and sweet! 

To think of her is melody! 

Here or afar we cannot greet 

A maid or matron half so sweet, 

Or half so perfect as is she. 

Ah, God, who made her good to see! 


Winter, You Are Merely a Churl 
Yver, vous n'estes qu'un vilain 

Winter, you are merely a churl; 
Summer is kind, charming and gay, 
As bear witness from dawn until dark 
Her companions, April and May. 

Summer decks the fields and flowers 
And woods with new livery 
Of green and many colors more, 
Following Nature's own decree. 

But you, Winter, overflow 
With snow, wind, rain and hail; 
We should send you into exile. 
Without flattery I tell you so: 
Winter, you are merely a churl. 


184 Northern France 


I Am Francois, to My Dismay 
Je suis Francois, dont il me foise 

I am Francois, to my dismay, 

Parisian born, out Pontoise way, 

And through the lesson ropes convey 

My neck'll learn what my arse may weigh. 


The Belle Heaulmiere to the Daughters of Joy 
ha belle Heaulmiere aux piles de joie 

So think things over, pretty Glover 

Who used to be my pupil, 

And you, Blanche the Cobbler, 

It's time you thought about yourself. 

Take them right and left — spare no man 

I pray you; for when you're old 

You'll have less currency or place 

Than coins they've taken out of circulation. 

And you, sweet Sausage-vendor, 
Who's such a graceful dancer; 
Guillemette the Tapestry-maker, 
Don't do your master in, for soon 
You'll have to close your shop. 
When you're old and faded 
You'll be serving some old priest, 
Like coins they've taken out of circulation. 

Jeanneton the Bonnet-maker, 
Don't let your lover hobble you; 

angois Villon 185 

And Catherine, Purse-vendor, 

Stop putting men to pasture; 

For even if those girls who aren't 

So pretty, make no sour face, but smile, 

Old-age's ugliness will frighten love away, 

Like coins they've taken out of circulation. 

Girls, for your own good 

Listen to why I cry and weep: 

I can no longer get around — I am 

Like coins they've taken out of circulation. 


The Old Woman Laments the Days of Her Youth 

Les regrets de la belle Heaulmiere 

I seem to hear lamenting 
The Armoress who once was fair, 
Wishing she were a girl again 
And speaking after this manner: 
"Ha! old age, villainous and fierce, 
Why so soon have you laid me low? 
If I strike myself, what shall hinder 
My killing myself with such a blow? 

You have taken the great dominion 
That Beauty did ordain for me 
Over scholars, merchants, churchmen, 
For then no man born could be 
Who wouldn't give everything to me — 
Even if later he might regret — 
If only I would yield him freely 
What the beggars now reject. 

Many a man I have refused — 
Which wasn't behaving sensibly — 

1 86 

Northern France 

For the sake of a crafty lad I used 
To give myself too generously. 
Others I treated treacherously, 
But loved him well, upon my soul! 
But he only repaid abusively, 
And loved me only for my gold. 

However much he bullied me, 
Trampled me, I loved him still; 
And had he even crippled me, 
He need only ask me for a kiss 
To blot out all my ill. 
The scoundrel, marked with evil stain, 
Embraced me . . . hardly profitable! 
For what is left? Sin and shame. 

But he is dead these thirty years, 
And old and gray-haired I remain. 
When I think of the good years, 
What I was, what I became! 
When I look at my naked frame, 
And see how much I have changed, 
Wretched, wizened, shrunken, lean, 
My mind is nearly deranged. 

What has become of my smooth brow, 

My blond hair, my eyebrows' span, 

My well-spaced eyes, that glance now, 

That used to trap the cleverest men? 

My fine straight nose, then 

Not big nor small, each dainty ear, 

The clear, curved cheeks and dimpled chin, 

And those red lips so fair? 

Those shoulders, slender and fine, 
Those long arms and shapely hands, 
The tiny breasts, hips round and high, 
Shaped perfectly — a land 
Made for love's tournaments; 

rangois Villon 187 

The wide loins; and pleasure's seat 
Set in the firm thighs' extent, 
Inside its little garden sweet? 

The wrinkled brow, the hair turned gray, 
Eyebrows fallen out, dimmed eyes 
That once attacked with looks and gay 
Smiles, winning many a merchant prize; 
Nose bent, as beauty far off flies. 
Ears drooping, full of hair, 
Wan cheeks, dead and colorless, 
Puckered chin, lips like leather. 

This is human beauty's end! 
The short arms, gnarled fists, 
Shoulders quite humped and bent; 
What of the breasts? mere shriveled tits; 
Hips and dugs have called it quits; 
And pleasure's seat? Ugh! And as 
Fot thighs, they're no thighs now but bits 
Of things, all flecked like sausages. 

And so we lament the good old days 
Among ourselves — poor old fools, 
Squatting low here on our haunches, 
Bunched up like woolen balls 
Around a fire of hempen straw, 
Quickly lit and quickly gone. 
And once we were cute and fair! 
— But so it goes with many a one. 


Ballad for Fat Margot 
Ballade de la Grosse Margot 

If I love and serve my beauty with good heart, 
Must you think me common and a mug? 

1 88 Northern France 

She has in her all that a man could want. 
For love of her, both sword and shield I lug; 
When people come, I run and fetch a jug, 
And get some wine, as quiet as I can do't 
I offer water, cheese and bread and fruit. 
If they pay well, I say to them : "Good Sport! 
Come again, when you feel in rut 
Here to this brothel where we hold our court'/' 

But then disharmony its reign does start 
When Margot comes to bed and brings no cash; 
I cannot bear her, but feel a deathly hate. 
I snatch her dress and petticoat and sash, 
And swear I'll keep them all instead of cash. 
She, arms akimbo, cries: 'Tou Antichrist," 
And swears to me by death of Jesus Christ 
It shall not be. And so I grab a stout 
Stick, and on her nose my message write, 
Here in this brothel where we hold our court. 

Then we make up, and she lets out a fart, 
Since she's more bloated than a venomous bug. 
Then laughing, claps her fist upon my pate, 
Calls me cute, and hits me in the leg. 
Completely drunk, we both sleep like a log. 
And when we wake, her belly shows its might, 
She mounts me, so as not to spoil her fruit. 
I groan beneath her, squashed flat like a board; 
By lechery she has me ruined quite, 
Here in this brothel where we hold our court. 

Come wind, hail, or frost, my bread is won. 
I'm a lecher, she's a lecherous one. 
Which is betterr We are both as one. 
Bad cat, bad rat: each a no-good sort. 
Garbage we love, garbage follows on. 

rangois Villon 189 

We flee from honor, from us it flees, is gone, 
Here in this brothel where we hold our court. 


Ballad of the Ladies of Olden Times 
Ballade des Dames du Temps jadis 

Tell me where, in what foreign place 
Is Flora, who wore Roman dress, 
Archipiades, and Thais, 
Her first cousin in loveliness; 
Echo, whose voice was a caress 
Over the river or mere, 
Fairer than human heart may guess — 
Where are the snows of yesteryear? 

Where is the love of Abelard, 
The prudent Heloise, for whom 
He bore the pain of manhood scarred 
And lived in monastery gloom? 
Where is the queen decreed the doom 
Of Buridan, that he must wear 
Sack for shroud in the Seine his tomb? 
Where are the snows of yesteryear? 

The lily-queen who graced the palace — 
Blanche, who sang in a wondrous strain, 
Bertha Giant-foot, Beatrice, Alice, 
Lady Haremburgis of Maine 
And Joan, the good girl from Lorraine 
Whose burning gave the English cheer; 
O Virgin, do I ask in vain? 
Where are the snows of yesteryear? 

Prince, do not ask whither they go 
Or where they are, lest to your ear 

I go Northern France 

The same refrain sound sad and low, 
Where are the snows of yesteryear? 


Villon's Epitaph [The Ballad of the Hanged] 
UEpitaphe Villon [La Ballade des fendus] 

Brother men, who after us still live, 
Let not your hearts towards us turn to stone, 
For if to wretched us you pity give, 
God's mercy will to you be sooner shown. 
You see us, five or six, strung up here now; 
As for our flesh which once we overfed, 
It has long since been rotted or devoured, 
And we, the bones, to dust and ashes fall. 
Let no one mock at our unhappy fate, 
But pray to God that he absolve us all. 

If we dare call you brothers, you should show 
No scorn for us, although we have been slain 
In justice. In any case, you know 
That all men are not reasonable and sane; 
So intercede for us, now we are gone, 
With the Blessed Virgin Mary's Son, 
That his grace may not dry up its spring, 
But keep us from the thunderbolt of Hell; 
We are dead, let no one hound us on; 
But pray to God that he absolve us all. 

The rain has washed and scoured us clean, 
And the sun blackened and dried us now; 
Daws and crows made holes where eyes have been, 
And plucked away our beards and each eyebrow. 
Never at any time have we sat down; 
But here and there as the wind does blow, 

angois Villon 191 

It carries us at will incessantly, 

Pecked by birds, more nicked than any thimble. 

Seek not to join with our fraternity; 

But pray to God that he absolve us all. 

Prince Jesus, who over all hold sway, 
Keep us from Hell's dominion; we'd not pay 
There any debt, or dealings have at all, 
Men, there's no intent to joke or play; 
But pray to God that he absolve us all. 




The earliest lyrical expressions of medieval France were short 
poems and dramatic pieces dealing with religious subjects: lives 
of saints, martyrdoms, etc. The "Cantilene de Sainte Eulalie," 
here included, was modeled after Latin hymns sung at church, 
and dates back to the ninth century. Also popular were the 
chansons de toile or sewing-songs, so called because they present 
women at the spinning wheel or doing needlework. The songs 
take the form of mono-rhyme stanzas with a refrain, and relate 
vividly and charmingly some love episode. Among the many 
other types of lyrics there were the workers' songs, wherein 
they complain of their hard lot and expose abuses of the rich 
and powerful; and chansons de mal-mariee, wherein a dis- 
gruntled wife regrets having married the good-for-nothing who 
is now her husband; the chansons a personnages, in dialogue 
form, dramatizing a quarrel between husband and wife; in the 
albas or auhes (dawn-songs) lovers regret the coming of dawn 
which obliges them to part; in the pastourelles a knight makes 
love to a shepherdess; and, finally, the reverdie celebrates the 
coming of spring and frequently birds join in with their songs. 
From the fourteenth century on, and particularly through the 
contributions of such master technicians as Guillaume de Ma- 
chaut, Eustache Deschamps, Christine de Pisan, and Charles 
d'Orleans, a "new rhetoric" emerged. Predominantly concerned 
with prosodic manipulations, the new rhetoricians made a cult 
of technique. Such artificial forms as the rondel, the rondeau, 
the ballade, the triolet, the virelay, monopolized their concern 
— until poets of the Pleiade, who were also formalistic, re- 
jected most of the rondeau and ballade forms in favor of the 
ode and the sonnet. 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 193 

adam de la halle (c. 1240-1288), poet from Arras, 
nicknamed Adam the Hunchback, elevated his Picard dialect 
to a literary language through his witty popular poems, some 
of which he set to music. He served the Count of Artois and 
followed him to Naples. From c. 1282 to 1286 he sojourned 
in Sicily, having joined Charles of Anjou's suite. On his re- 
turn home he died of consumption. His plays he ]eu de la 
feuillee (c. 1276) and he Jeu de Robin et Marion constitute 
his remarkable contribution to the early French theatre: the 
former shows a striking similarity with A Midsummer Night's 
Dream, and the latter is an adaptation of a pastourelle to a musi- 
cal dramatic form. Adam's poetry, in his refined songs and ron- 
deaux, gracefully tender and bright, points to a Provencal 


Countess of Foix, was the daughter of Jeanne de France and 
Philippe d'Evreux. In 1349 she married the famous Count of 
Foix, with whom she had several children. Disagreements on 
money matters forced them to separate. One of their sons, 
Gaston, tried to bring about a reconciliation but he had be- 
come involved in a plot to kill Charles le Mauvais and soon 
thereafter was killed by his own father. Agnes remained at 
the court of Navarre, returning to France only to die. 

chartier, alain (c. 1390-1440), born at Bayeux, in 
Normandy, studied in Paris, and served under Charles VI and 
VII, traveling widely on diplomatic missions. In addition to his 
prose work he Quadrilogue invectif (1422), an analysis and 
critique of the social and political situation, his reputation 
rests on his ballads and rondeaux and most especially on that 
poem, ha Belle Dame sans merci (1424), which has elicited 
such widespread echoes. 

LE CHASTELAIN DE COUCY (d. 1203), 3, Writer of 

melancholy lyrics, perhaps named Gui de Thurotte, was the 
chatelain of the town of Coucy. A legend exists which was 
transcribed into a metrical romance, he Chastelain de Couci 
(c. 1205) by Jakemon or Jakemes le Vinier, that he died at 

194 Northern France 

sea on his way to the Holy Land at the time of the crusades 
and that his heart was sent to his lady love. Her jealous hus- 
band intercepted the gift and served it to her in a dish. (Cf. 
note on Guilhem de Cabestanh, the Provencal poet, for a 
variation on this coeur-mange theme.) 

Chretien de troyes (c. 1 1 35- 1 1 90), hailed from 
Troyes, capital of Champagne, and frequented the court of 
Marie de Champagne. He wrote romances of love and chivalric 
adventures: his Lancelot, Yvain and Percival were circulated 
widely, found their way into other European languages, and 
were frequently imitated. 

Christine de pisan (1364-1430), born in Venice, 
the daughter of the astrologer and physician of Charles V of 
France, was brought up in Paris. At fifteen, she married 
£tienne de Castel. Widowed ten years later, she underwent 
many reverses and privations and had to write for money in 
order to support her family. Deep sincerity and natural grace 
characterize her verse. A staunch defender of women, she 
replied with singular eloquence to Jean de Meun's (q.v.) 
attacks and wrote a treatise on the education of women; she | 
used Jeanne d'Arc as a female paragon. She ended her days in 
a convent. 

Colin muset (after 1234), jongleur from Lorraine, wrote 
about life's joys and occasionally parodied the courtly poets, 
making facetious remarks about courtly love and even criticiz- 
ing the lords for their stinginess. 

CONON [or QUESNES] DE BETHUNE (d, I22o), a Cm- 

sader from Picardy, member of the high nobility, ancestor of' 
Sully, took part in the conquest of Constantinople (1204) 
and became Regent of the Empire (121 9). A man of action, 
highly praised by the historian Villehardouin, he was also a 
gifted imitator in French of the troubadours. 

Votes and Biographical Sketches 195 

deschamps, eustache (1346-1410), born at Vertus 
^Marne), was brought up by his uncleO) Guillaume de 
Vlachaut (q.v.) who taught him the art of poetry. Deschamps 
field various offices at the courts of Charles V and VI of France, 
wrote a considerable number of ballads and rondeaux in the 
:ourtly tradition, some of them satiric or patriotic. He wrote 
a ballad on the death of Guillaume de Machaut and another to 
Chaucer, whom he addresses as "grant translatear" because of 
his English version of the Roman de la Rose. The poem "One 
Day the Rats of All Degrees," included here, is the basis of 
La Fontaines famous fable. 

froissart, jean (1337-1410), the great historian, whose 
Chronicles made him known as the "Herodotus of a barbarous 
age," wrote lovely lais, ballades and shorter lyrics which com- 
pare favorably with those of the best poets of his times — in fact, 
his verses have perhaps more personality than Machaut's in 
whose footsteps he followed to a large extent. 

gace brule (c. 1179-1212), a knight from Champagne, 
probably associated with the Duke of Brittany Geoffrey Plan- 
tagenet and his sister Marie de Champagne, is remembered 
for some thirty love poems, in the troubadour tradition but 
much more tempered, even austere at times. 

guillaume de lorris (1 210-1237), was born early in 
the thirteenth century in Lorris, a village east of Orleans, and 
died, according to Jean de Meun, before he had finished his 
Roman de la Rose, begun during the 1220's. He died c. 1237, 
according to the evidence in Jean de Meun's continuation, 
which was composed c. 1277, within the limits of 1268 and 1285. 
jean de meun, born at Meung-sur-Loire, about 1240, 
probably died in Paris, c. 1305. Guillaume de Lorris' Roman 
de la Rose and Jean de Meun's continuation, represented in 
the two selections here, have been claimed by some scholars 
to be superficially different in style but fundamentally unified 
in their development of the theme. However, one may argue 

196 Northern France 

that Jean de Meun seems to be less interested in the allegory 
than in expounding a Christian-naturalistic doctrine of love as 
the will to perpetuate the species. In the best medieval misogy- 
nistic tradition, Jean de Meun satirizes woman as the greedy 
deceiver of man. Both aspects — Guillaume de Lorris' and 
Jean de Meun's — were powerfully influential in the late Middle 
Ages and the Renaissance. 

guiot de dijon (fl. 1220). Several lyrics and a crusading 
song have been attributed to him. 

jacob bar juda, hazak (fl. 1 288), a Lorraine rabbi, 
wrote in French the elegy (selihah) included here, transcribed 
in Hebrew characters. It is the first-known literary work of this 
type; in it he wished to commemorate the martyrdom of thir- 
teen Jews falsely accused of ritual murder, who, when sen- 
tenced to burn at the stake in Troyes, could have saved them- 
selves by embracing Christianity but chose instead to perish 
in the flames. 

jean de meun, see entry for guillaume de lor- 

MACHAUT, GUILLAUME DE (c. 1 292-1 377), poet and 

musician born in the village of Machaut in the Ardennes, 
served for years as secretary of John of Luxembourg, King of 
Bohemia, who took him to Germany, Austria, Italy, and even 
Russia. After the King's death at the battle of Crecy (1346), 
Guillaume served the future Charles V of France, and there- 
after the King of Navarre and members of the French royal 
Family. In 1377 he was appointed canon of Reims. In literature 
his renown derives from his short lyrics — rondels, triolets, 
ballades — elaborate in prosody and form, many of which he 
set to music. Memorable too are his motets and his mass at the 
coronation of Charles V of France (1364). Because of his 
musical talent and his technical innovations in poetry, his 
name remains among those of the truly significant figures of 
medieval French culture, and, in fact, some of his contem- 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 197 

poraries placed him above Petrarch and Boccaccio. One thing is 
certain: he did influence Gower and Chaucer. 

marie de France (fl. 1181-1216), the greatest poetess 
of medieval Europe, was perhaps the natural daughter of 
Geoffrey Plantagenet and, therefore, half-sister of Henry II. 
Though born in France, she did most, perhaps all, of her liter- 
ary work in England, where she was Abbess of Shaftesbury. 
Marie de France is best known for her lais, narrative poems 
of love adventure and fantasy derived from the stories which 
the Bretons told in the Norman and French courts and which 
deal with King Arthur and the Round Table, Tristan and 
Iseult, and Celtic legends. She also wrote Aesopic fables and 
paraphrased in French a Latin legend about St. Patrick. 

Orleans, charles d' (c. 1394-1465), born in Paris, the 
son of Louis d'Orleans (brother of Charles VI of France) and 
the daughter of the Duke of Milan, when barely twenty-one 
was taken prisoner at Agincourt and remained a captive in 
England for a quarter of a century: it was then that most of 
his poetry was written. On his release he married Marie de 
Cleves and settled at Blois, where he played host to artists and 
poets (Villon among others) and wrote many lovely lyrics. 
Charles d'Orleans' rondeaux and ballades manifest consummate 
skill, and some, notably his ballades "News Has Been Spread 
from France" and "Pray for Peace, Oh Gentle Virgin Mary" 
and his rondels "The Weather Has Laid Aside His Cloak" 
and "Ah, God, Who Made Her Good to See," have depth of 
feeling and exquisite formal beauty. His poem written in cap- 
tivity refers to his first wife, Bonne d'Armagnac, whom he hopes 
will free him by ransom and other means. 

richard the lion-hearted [Richard Coeur de 
Lion] (11 57-1 199), King of England (1189-1x99), writer in 
French and Provencal and a most dramatic medieval figure, 
took part in the Crusades and was imprisoned by his political 
enemies. He and his older brother Henry and their mother, 
Eleanor of Aquitaine, were patrons of the Provencal poets. 

198 Northern France 

Richard left us two songs; in the sirventes included here the 
sister referred to is Mary, Countess of Champagne, daughter 
of Louis VII and Eleanor. 

rutebeuf (c. 1225-1280), a gifted poet from Champagne, 
lived a most precarious existence in Paris, endeavoring to find 
the humorous side of life: in short, a poverty-stricken genius 
and roisterer who anticipates Villon in his experiences, in his 
ideas, in his lyricism, and in his truculence. Rutebeuf wrote 
fabliaux, satires, saints' lives, pious legends, panegyrics and 
funeral laments; he attacked King and Pope, merchant and 
laborer with equal venom. His play Le Miracle de Theophile 
embodies the Faust theme: it tells of an ambitious priest who 
sold his soul to the Devil but on repenting was saved by the 
Virgin Mary. 

Villon, franqois (1431-after 1 463), born in Paris, 
was brought up by Guillaume de Villon, chaplain of Saint- 
Benoit-le-Betourne. Despite his riotous life at the University 
of Paris, he finally obtained a Master of Arts degree in 1452. 
Three years later he killed a priest in a brawl and afterward 
broke into the College of Navarre, carrying off 500 gold pieces. 
His earliest poem, the Lais or Petit Testament, was written 
around this time. For six years he wandered throughout dif- 
ferent parts of France — for a short while he lingered at Charles 
d'Orleans' court — and on two occasions at least he was in jail. 
In 1 46 1, despairing of his health, he composed the 2,ooc-line 
Testament recapitulating his life experiences, vituperating his 
enemies, expressing both his anguish and joie de vivre, in verses 
which in their sincerity and depth of feeling stand above all 
the poetry of his contemporaries. On his return to Paris he 
found himself involved in a number of quarrels and murders 
and in 1462 was sentenced to be hanged. However the sentence 
was commuted and he was allowed to go into exile for a period 
of ten years. Alter this judgment nothing more is known about 
him, but the few poems he wrote remain the loftiest literary 
contribution from medieval France. 

It should be noted that the ''Belle Heaulmiere" (seller of 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 199 

armor) included here, deals with the mistress of lame and 
wealthy Nicolas d'Orgemont, sometime canon of Notre-Dame. 
The lament of the notorious courtesan for her lost beauty and 
her ballade to the Parisian prostitutes are outstanding moments 
in Villon's creative work. 


Anonymous Translated by 

\h Me Poor Wretch, Who Loved a Falcon 206 

Tapina oi me, ch'amava uno sparviero Sonia Raiziss and 

Alfredo de Palchi 

St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1 180-1226) 
Hie Canticle of the Creatures 206 

Cantico delle Creature William M. Davis 

GlACOMO DA LENTINO (c. I189-I240) 

. Have Set My Heart on Serving God 208 

lo m'agio posto in core a Dio servire Maurice Valency 

rhe Frightful Basilisk, Most Poisonous 208 

Guardando 'I basalisco velenoso Daniel J. Donno 

ClELO D'ALCAMO (fl. I23l) 

rhou Sweetly-Smelling Fresh Red Rose 209 

Rosa fresca aulentissima c'apar'inver la state D. G. Rossetti 

Enzo Re (c. 1220-1272) 
Hme Comes for Those Ascending to Descend 217 

Tempo vene che sale a chi discende Daniel J. Donno 

Love Often Agitates My Heart to Thought 2 1 7 

Amore mi fa sovente lo meo core pensare James J. Wilhelm 


The Gentle Heart 219 

Al cor gentil Daniel J. Donno 

202 Italy 

To Guido Guinizelli : 

Now That You Have Changed the Manner 221 

A Guido Guinizelli: Poi ch'avete mutata Maurice Valency 

Rinaldo d' Aquino (7-1279) 
No More Shall I Take Comfort 221 

Gia mai non mi conforto Daniel J. Donno 


Have Mercy, Love! Give Ear 223 

Amor, merze, intende s'eo ragione Maurice Valency 

Jacopone da Todi ( i 236-1 306) 
O Love, All Love Above 224 

Amor de caritate, perche m'hai si ferito? John Gray 


Come, January, I Give You These Treats 231 

V doto voi, nel mese di gennaio Joy Gould 

In March, for You a Gift of Fish I Boast 231 

Di marzo si vi do una peschiera Joy Gould 

For April I Give You the Countryside 232 

D'april vi dono la gentil campagna Joy Gould 

In October, Figuring up Your Share 232 

D'ottobre nel contado a buono stallo Joy Gould 

Cecco Angiolieri (c. 1250-1319) 
If I Were Fire, I'd Burn the World Away 23 

S'io fossi foco, arderei lo mondo Daniel J. Donno 

Despair Herself Regards Me as Her Son 23 

La stremita mi richer per figliuolo Daniel J. Donno 

Guido Cavalcanti (c. i 255-1 300) 
You Have in You the Flowers and the Green Grass 23 

Avete in voi li fiori e la verdura G. S. Fraser 

Who's This That Comes, as Each Man Looks at Her 23 

Chi e questa che vien, ch'ogni uom la mira G. S. Fraser 

Beauty of Woman of Noble Heart 23 

Belta di donna di piacente core Maurice Valency 

If Mercy Were a Friend to My Desires 23 

Se Merce fosse arnica a miei desiri Daniel J. Donno 

Irma Brandeis 


James J. Wilhelm 


Joseph Tusiani 


James J. Wilhelm 

Italy 203 

You've Filled My Mind So Full of Grief 237 

Tu m'hai si plena di dolor la mente James J. Wilhelm 

Lady Mine, Caught You No Glimpse of Him 237 

O donna mia, non vedestu colui 
We're the Pens, Saddened and Dismayed 

Noi siam le triste penne isbigothe 
A Lady Begs Me 

Donna mi prega 
Fresh Newborn Rose 

Fresca rosa novella 
There in a Woodland, to My Thought More Bright 242 

In un boschetto trova pasturella G. S. Fraser 

Since I No Longer Hope. O My Sweet Song 243 

Perch'i' non spero di tornar giammai Joseph Tusiani 

Dante Alighieri (1 265-1 321) 
To Guido Cavalcanti 245 

A Guido Cavalcanti Daniel J. Donno 

Beyond the Sphere Which Turns Most Distant 245 

Oltre la spera, che piii larga gira Maurice Valency 

Nothing Will Ever Seem to Me More Cruel 246 

Nidla mi parve mai piu crudel cosa Judith Goode 

To a Short Day and a Great Ring of Shadow 247 

Al poco giomo, ed al gran cerchio d'ombra 

Sonia Raiziss and Alfredo de Palchi 

1 Seek to Make My Speech a Yawp as Bitter 248 

Cosi nel mio parlor Leslie A. Fiedler 

Dante and Forese Donati 

Tenzone Sequence James J. Wilhelm 250 

ClNO DA PlSTOIA (C. I27O-I336) 

Ah Me, Alas! Am I So Very Base 253 

Oime lasso! or sonvi tanto a noia Daniel J. Donno 

Love Is a Subtle Spirit That Can Slay 253 

Amore e uno spirito ch'ancide Daniel J. Donno 

Ah, Woe to Me Alas, for Love Has Bound 254 

Ome ch'io sono all' amoroso nodo Daniel J. Donno 

Onesto da Bologna (fl. 1301 ) 
To Cino da Pistoia 254 

A Cino da Pistoia Maurice Valency 

204 Italy 

Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) 
If Life Survives These Years of Bitter Woe 255 

Se la mia vita da Vaspro tormento Maurice Valency 

It Is the Evening Hour; the Rapid Sky 256 

Ne la stagion che 'I del rapido inchina Morris Bishop 

Father in Heaven, after Each Lost Day 258 

Padre del ciel, dopo i perduti giorni Bernard Bergonzi 

She Used to Let Her Golden Hair Fly Free 259 

Erano i capei d'oro a Vaura sparsi Morris Bishop 

Pale Beauty! and a Smile the Pallor There 260 

Quel vago impallidir che 'I dolce riso Edwin Morgan 

From Thought to Thought, from Mountain Peak to Mountain 262 
Di pensier in pensier, di monte in monte Morris Bishop 

I Find No Peace, yet Am Not Armed for War 262 

Pace non trovo, e non o da far guerra Maurice Valency 

Now Skies and Earth Are Stilled and Winds Are Dead 

Or che 'I ciel e la terra e 'I vento tace Dwight Durling 

Absorbed in One Fond Thought That Makes Me Run 

Pien d'un vago penser che me desvia Dwight Durling 

The Woods Are Wild and Were Not Made for Man 

Per mezz i boschi inospiti e selvaggi Edwin Morgan 

Love, We Attend the Vision of the Rose 

Stiamo, Amor, a veder la gloria nostra Peter Russell 

Nowhere So Clearly Have My Inward Eyes 

Mai non fui in parte ove si chiar vedessi Dwight Durling 

The Eyes That Drew from Me Such Fervent Praise 266 

Gli occhi di ch'io parlai si caldamente Edwin Morgan 

Great Is My Envy of You, Earth, in Your Greed 266 

Quanta invidia io ti porto, avara terra Edwin Morgan 

The Nightingale Whose Ardent, Soft Despair 267 

Quel rosignuol che si soave piagne Dwight Durling 

Go, Grieving Rimes of Mine, to That Hard Stone 267 

Ite, rime dolenti, al duro sasso Morris Bishop 

Small Wandering Bird Who Singing Go Your Way 268 

Vago augelletto che cantando vai Peter Russell 

Death Cannot Sour the Sweetness of Her Face 269 

Non po far Morte il dolce viso amaro Morris Bishop 

taly 205 

Fazio degli Uberti (c. 131 0-1370) 
Gaze upon Her Light Crisp-Curling Hair 269 

lo guardo i crespi e li biondi capelli Dwight Durling 

Franco Sacchetti (1 335-1 400) 
Kn Amorous Thorn 272 

Inamorato Pruno Daniel J. Donno 

3 Lovely Mountain Shepherd Lasses 273 

O vaghe montanine pasturelle Maurice Valency 

^Jotes and Biographical Sketches 274 



Ah Me Poor Wretch, Who Loved a Falcon 
"Tafina oi me, ctiamava uno Sforviero 

Ah me poor wretch, who loved a falcon: 
loved and nearly died of it! 
He was docile to my beck and call, 
and little would he want or get. 
Now he's climbed the sky and taken 
like a lord to his uncommon height, 
and settled in a strange garden : 
another woman keeps him strait. 

My falcon, I fostered you 

and had you wear a bell of gold 

to make your hunting flight bolder; 

then rising like the sea, 

you soared away and burst your bond, 

when you were sure of your game and ground. 

sonia raiziss and ALFREDO de palchi 


The Canticle of the Creatures 
Cantico delle Creature 

Most High, almighty, good Lord God, 

Thine are the praise, the honor and the glory 

And every blessing due. 

Thine alone, Most High, 

And no man is worthy to mention Thee. 

Be praised, my Lord, with all Thy creatures, 
Especially our brother, the sun, 

t. Francis of Assisi 207 

Who brings the day and shows Thy light. 
For he is fair and radiant with great splendor 
And draws his meaning, O Most High, from Thee. 

Be praised, my Lord, for our sister, the moon, 

And the stars, set precious, clear, and fair in Heaven. 

Be praised, my Lord, for our brother, the wind, 
For air and clouds, and every sort of weather 
By which Thou givest sustenance to all. 

Be praised, my Lord, for sister water, 

For she is useful, precious, humble, and most chaste. 

Be praised, my Lord, for brother fire, 

Thy beacon in the night, 

For he is gay and fair and vigorous and strong. 

Be praised, my Lord, for our sister, mother earth, 

Who gives us nourishment and life 

And many fruits, bright flowerlets and grass. 

Be praised, my Lord, for those who loving Thee, forgive, 

And bear trials and tribulations. 

Blessed are those who peacefully endure, 

For by Thee, Most High, they shall be crowned. 

Be praised, my Lord, for our sister, carnal death, 
From whom no living man escapes: 
Woe to those who die in mortal sin; 
Blessed be those who do Thy holy will, 
For the second death shall spare them. 

Praise and bless my Lord, and give Him thanks, 
And serve Him very humbly all thy days. 


2o8 Italy 


I Have Set My Heart on Serving God 

lo m'agio fosto in core a Dio servire 

I have set my heart on serving God 

So that I may go to Paradise, 

To the holy place where, I have heard, 

There is every pleasure, sport and laughter — 

I should not wish to go there without my lady, 
She of the blond head and shining face, 
For without her I should not enjoy myself, 
Being severed from my lady. 

But I say this not in the sense 

That I should not wish to commit a sin 

In that place — All I desire is to look 

At her fine figure and her languorous eyes, 
For it would give me great delight 
To contemplate my lady in her glory. 


The Frightful Basilisk, Most Poisonous 
Guardando l basalisco velenoso 

The frightful basilisk, most poisonous, 
That slays its victim with a single glance, 
The slithery asp, of snakes most envious, 
Whose artful fangs are keener than a lance, 
The haughty drake, whose look imperious 

Cielo d'Alcamo 209 

Is direst omen of most dire mischance — 
These I compare to love, most dolorous, 
Oh most tormenting, dreadful circumstance! 
For love, by nature, as all lovers know, 
With but one look defeats the boldest knight 
And artfully contrives his sorest woe, 
Offending out of pride and out of spite. 
Whom Love possesses has but pains to show; 
Who takes Love for his lord is conquered quite! 



Thou Sweetly-Smelling Fresh Red Rose 

Rosa fresca aulentissima 

he : Thou sweetly-smelling fresh red rose 
That near thy summer art, 
Of whom each damsel and each dame 
Would fain be counterpart; 
O! from this fire to draw me forth 
Be it in thy good heart: 
For night or day there is no rest with me, 
Thinking of none, my lady, but of thee. 

she: If thou hast set thy thoughts on me, 
Thou hast done a foolish thing. 
Yea, all the pine-wood of this world 
Together might'st thou bring, 
And make thee ships, and plow the sea 
Therewith for corn-sowing, 
Ere any way to win me could be found: 
For I am going to shear my locks all round. 

HE: Lady, before thou shear thy locks 
I hope I may be dead: 
For I should lose such joy thereby 

21 o Italy 

And gain such grief instead. 

Merely to pass and look at thee, 

Rose of the garden-bed, 

Has comforted me much, once and again. 

Oh! if thou wouldst but love, what were it then! 

she : Nay, though my heart were prone to love, 
I would not grant it leave. 
Hark! should my father or his kin 
But find thee here this eve, 
Thy loving body and lost breath 
Our moat may well receive. 
Whatever path to come here thou dost know, 
By the same path I counsel thee to go. 

he: And if thy kinsfolk find me here, 
Shall I be drowned then? Marry, 
I'll set, for price against my head, 
Two thousand agostari. 
I think thy father would not do't 
For all his lands in Bari. 
Long life to the Emperor! Be God's praise! 
Thou hear'st, my beauty, what thy servant says. 

she: And am I then to have no peace 
Morning or evening? 
I have strong coffers of my own 
And much good gold therein; 
So that if thou couldst offer me 
The wealth of Saladin, 
And add to that the Soldan's money-hoard, 
Thy suit would not be anything toward. 

he: I have known many women, love, 

Whose thoughts were high and proud, 
And yet have been made gentle by 
Man's speech not over-loud. 
If we but press ye long enough, 
At length ye will be bow'd; 

d'Alcamo 211 

For still a woman's weaker than a man. 
When the end comes, recall how this began. 

God grant that I may die before 

Any such end do come, — 

Before the sight of a chaste maid 

Seem to me troublesome! 

I marked thee here all yestereve 

Lurking about my home, 

And now I say, Leave climbing, lest thou fall, 

For these thy words delight me not at all. 

How many are the cunning chains 

Thou hast wound round my heart! 

Only to think upon thy voice 

Sometimes I groan apart. 

For I did never love a maid 

Of this world, as thou art, 

So much as I love thee, thou crimson rose. 

Thou wilt be mine at last; this my soul knows. 

If I could think it would be so, 

Small pride it were of mine 

That all my beauty should be meant 

But to make thee to shine. 

Sooner than stoop to that, I'd shear 

These golden tresses fine, 

And make one of some holy sisterhood; 

Escaping so thy love, which is not good. 

If thou unto the cloister fly, 

Thou cruel lady and cold, 

Unto the cloister I will come 

And by. the cloister hold; 

For such a conquest liketh me 

Much better than much gold; 

At matins and at vespers I shall be 

Still where thou art. Have I not conquered thee? 

2,12 Italy 

she: Out and alack! wherefore am I 
Tormented in suchwise? 
Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, 
In whom my best hope lies, 
O give me strength that I may hush 
This vain man's blasphemies! 

Let him seek through the earth; 'tis long and broad: 
He will find fairer damsels, O my God! 

he: I have sought through Calabria, 
Lombardy, and Tuscany, 
Constantinople, Apulia, 
Genoa, Pisa, Syria, 
Yea, even to Babylon I went 
And distant Barbary: 
But not a woman found I anywhere 
Equal to thee, who art indeed most fair. 

she: If thou have all this love for me, 
Thou canst no better do 
Than ask me of my father dear 
And my dear mother too: 
They willing, to the abbey-church 
We will together go, 

And, before Advent, thou and I will wed; 
After the which, I'll do as thou hast said. 

HE: These thy conditions, lady mine, 
Are together nought: 
Despite of them, I'll make a net 
Wherein thou shalt be caught. 
What, wilt thou put on wings to Ayr 5 
Nay, but of wax they're wrought, — 
They'll let thee fall to earth, not rise with thee: 
So, if thou canst, then keep thyself from me. 

she: Think not to fright me with thy nets 
And suchlike childish gear; 
I am safe pent within the walls 

Cielo d'Alcamo 213 

Of this strong castle here; 

A boy before he is a man 

Could give me as much fear. 

If suddenly thou get not hence again, 

It is my prayer thou mayst be found and slain. 

he: Wouldst thou in very truth that I 
Were slain, and for thv sake? 
Then let them hew me to such mince 
As a man's limbs may make! 
But meanwhile I shall not stir hence 
Till of that fruit I take 

Which thou hast in thy garden, ripe enough: 
All day and night I thirst to think thereof. 

she: None have partaken of that fruit, 
Not Counts nor Cavaliers: 
Though many have reached up for it, 
Barons and great Seigneurs, 
They all went hence in wrath because 
They could not make it theirs. 
Then how canst thou think to succeed alone 
Who hast not a thousand ounces of thine own? 

he: How many nosegays I have sent 
Unto thy house, sweet soul! 
At least till I am put to proof, 
This scorn of thine control. 
For if the wind, so fair for thee, 
Turn ever and wax foul, 
Be sure that thou shalt say when all is done, 
"Now is my heart heavy for him that's gone." 

she : If by grief thou couldst be grieved, 
God send me a grief soon! 
I tell thee that though all my friends 
Prayed me as for a boon, 
Saying, "Even for the love of us, 
Love thou this worthless loon," 

214 Italy 

Thou shouldst not have the thing that thou dost hope. 
No, verily: not for the realm o' the Pope. 

HE: Now could I wish that I in truth 
Were dead here in thy house: 
My soul would get its vengeance then; 
Once known, the thing w 7 ould rouse 
A rabble, and they'd point and say, — 
"Lo! she that breaks her vows, 
And, in her dainty chamber, stabs!" Love, see: 
One strikes just thus: it is soon done, pardie! 

she: If now thou do not hasten hence, 
(My curse companioning,) 
That my stout friends will find thee here 
Is a most certain thing: 
After the which, my gallant sir, 
Thy points of reasoning 

May chance, I think, to stand thee in small stead, 
Thou hast no friend, sweet friend, to bring thee aid. 

he: Thou sayst truly, saying that 
I have not any friend: 
A landless stranger, lady mine, 
None but his sword defend. 
One year ago, my love began, 
And now, is this the end? 
Oh! the rich dress thou worest on that day 
Since when thou art walking at my side alway! 

she: So 'twas my dress enamored thee! 
What marvel? I did wear 
A cloth of samite silver-flowered, 
And gems within my hair. 
But one more word; if on Christ's Book 
To wed me thou didst swear, 
There's nothing now could win me to be thine: 
I had rather make mv bed in the sea-brine. 

Cielo d'Alcamo 215 

HE: And if thou make thy bed therein, 
Most courteous lady and bland, 
I'll follow all among the waves, 
Paddling with foot and hand; 
Then, when the sea hath done with thee, 
I'll seek thee on the sand. 
For I will not be conquered in this strife: 
I'll wait, but win; or losing, lose my life. 

she: For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
Three times I cross myself. 
Thou art no godless heretic, 
Nor Jew, whose God's his pelf: 
Even as I know it then, meseems, 
Thou needs must know thyself 
That woman, when the breath in her doth cease, 
Loseth all savor and all loveliness. 

he: Woe's me! Perforce it must be said 
No craft could then avail : 
So that if thou be thus resolved, 
I know my suit must fail. 
Then have some pity, of thy grace! 
Thou may'st, love, very well; 
For though thou love not me, my love is such 
That 'tis enough for both — yea overmuch. 

she: Is it even so? Learn then that I 
Do love thee from my heart. 
To-morrow, early in the day, 
Come here, but now depart. 
By thine obedience in this thing 
I shall know what thou art, 
And if thy love be real or nothing worth; 
Do but go now, and I am thine henceforth. 

he: Nay, for such promise, my own life, 
I will not stir a foot. 
I've said, if thou wouldst tear away 


My love even from its root, 
I have a dagger at my side 
Which thou mayst take to do't; 
But as for going hence, it will not be. 

hate me not! my heart is burning me. 

she: Think'st thou I know not that thy heart 
Is hot and burns to death? 
Of all that thou or I can say, 
But one word succoreth. 
Till thou upon the Holy Book 
Give me thy bounden faith, 
God is my witness that I will not yield: 
For with thy sword 'twere better to be kill'd. 

he : Then on Christ's Book, borne with me still 
To read from and to pray, 
(I took it, fairest, in a church, 
The priest being gone away,) 

1 swear that my whole self shall be 
Thine always from this day. 

And now at once give joy for all my grief, 
Lest my soul fly, that's thinner than a leaf. 

she: Now that this oath is sworn, sweet lord, 
There is no need to speak : 
My heart, that was so strong before, 
Now feels itself grow weak, 
If any of my words were harsh, 
Thy pardon : I am meek 
Now, and will give thee entrance presently. 
It is best so, sith so it was to be. 


Enzo Re 217 


Time Comes for Those Ascending to Descend 

Tempo vene che sale a chi discende 

Time comes for those ascending to descend, 
For those who talk to lend an ear instead, 
For those who learn to pause and comprehend; 
Time comes for scanted duties to be sped, 
For dire revenge on those who dare offend, 
For threatening deeds in place of timid dread; 
Time comes to scorn what others reprehend, 
Or feign forbearance of what's seen or said. 
Therefore, him only call I sagely wise, 
Whose actions spring from reason's plain decree, 
And bides with what occasion may proclaim. 
Such conduct will find praise in all men's eyes; 
For where all doing keeps its due degree, 
Excess, being absent, leaves no room for blame. 


Love Often Agitates My Heart to Thought 
Amove mi fa sovente lo meo core pensare 

(The complaint of Enzo Re from his prison 
palace in Bologna^) 

Love often agitates my heart to thought 

Sending me painful sighs 

For while I wait, fear rules the lot 

Of all future enterprise. 

No, I'm not afraid my sweet hope there 

May prove untrue; 

2i 8 Italy 

Only — that while I sit here in despair 
A worse fate looms in view. 

Then I'm afraid till in my inner eye 

I see her noble qualities. 

If I'm too long delayed, I'll surely die. 

O, bitterly love holds me 

Tightly snared, an animal caught at chase, 

With no thought of other ease. 

Yet I'm prepared to see her lovely face, 

Holding her long in peace. 

I have no joy. So great is my torment 

I know no quietness. 

Hope, alone my buoy, keeps me ever bent 

On quick flight from distress 

Away to that most loving lady of praise 

Who owns, who holds me in her might. 

With no other let me live out my days 

Keeping her sole lady of delight. 

Still as I wait so long and never see 

Her cherished face, 

Her noble quality, there steals upon me 

Persistent hope for grace 

By doing her pleasure; ready for decreeing 

I stand, far from sin's regret. 

But listen! Loving without seeing 

Makes even noble lovers forget. 

Go, greet that lord, my little song: 

Tell him the evils that I bore 

From one who holds me, his ward, in wrong 

So that I can live no more. 

Also greet Tuscany, that supreme domain, 

Where courtliness reigns in every way. 

Then, to her castle in Apulia's plain: 

There where my heart is, night and day. 


Guido Guinizelli 219 


The Gentle Heart 
Al cor gentil 

Love to the gentle heart will hasten straight 

As birds that seek the foliage of the glade, 

Nor Nature first did gentle heart create 

Nor love, till gentle heart for love was made. 

For only when the sun 

Shines forth is splendor given light, 

Which dies having no sun; 

So love in gentleness alone finds place, 

Most fittingly aright, 

Like heat within the glowing flame's embrace. 

Love's fire to the gentle heart intends 

As special virtue to the precious stone 

To which no power of starry sphere descends 

Until the purging sun thereon has shone 

And by its strength drawn forth 

All that which it possessed of dross before. 

As to the stone its worth, 

So to the heart which Nature did devise 

Gentle and chaste and pure 

Love comes, as from a star, in woman's guise. 

Love dwells in gentle hearts by that same right 

By which the flame that wraps the burning brand 

Dances upon the summit in delight 

And, being proud, bows down to no command. 

But the corrupted will 

Encounters love, as fire, burning apace, 

Encounters water's chill. 

In gentle heart love finds its native shore, 

Affinity of place, 

As does the magnet in the iron's core. 

220 Italy 

If the sun shone all day upon the mud, 

Mud it would stay, nor would the sun lose dignity. 

The proud man says, "Gentle am I by blood." 

Yet he is mud; the sun, gentility. 

For men must not proclaim 

Nobility resides outside their hearts 

In dignity of name. 

The gentle heart virtue alone may tender: 

Through water starlight darts; 

Heaven retains the star, the star its splendor. 

On heaven's Intelligence God's light prevails 

Brighter than sunlight on our earthly eyes; 

And she whose understanding nothing veils, 

Turning the spheres, obeying Him, replies; 

And thus His high decree 

Becomes fulfillment of the Primal Will. 

So must fair woman be: 

Within the gentle heart her glance will stir 

True love and that desire instill 

To seek perfection by obeying her. 

"Sir," God will say to me, "what act is this?" 

(When my soul stands before his judgment throne.) 

"You came through all the heavens in quest of bliss, 

Yet you gave love elsewhere that's Mine alone; 

That praise to Me is due, 

Or to the Queen who rules with that sweet grace 

That can all sin undo." 

Then I shall say, "She seemed an angel fair 

Whose steps I could retrace. 

If I gave her my love, what fault was there?" 


Rinaldo d' Aquino 221 


To Guido Guinizelli: 

Now That You Have Changed the Manner 

A Guido Guinizelli: Poi ctiavete mutat 

Now that you have changed the manner 

Of the pleasant songs of love, 

Their form and essence, 

So as to overgo all other poets, 

You have become as a torch which shines 
In the darkness, but which pales 
Wherever the sun sheds its light, 
Which far exceeds your own. 

Indeed, you surpass all the world in subtlety, 

And there is no one who can 

Interpret your language properly, so dark it is! 

But it is considered a strange business — 
Although learning comes to us from Bologna — 
To make love-songs out of science. 



No More Shall I Take Comfort 
Gia mai non mi conforto 

No more shall I take comfort, 
No joy is left to me. 
The ships are ready in the port 
And waiting anxiously. 
The many folks are leaving 

ini Italy 

For lands beyond the sea, 
And I, alas, am grieving. 
What cause have I for glee? 

He sails to far-off countries 
And sends to me no word. 
Alone, deceived, I have no ease; 
My sighs cannot be heard. 
They strive and war within me; 
Ah, night and day they strive! 
Lost, while all eaTth and heaven flee, 
I scarcely seem alive. 

Oh God of our salvation, 
Born of the Virgin pure, 
Who willed our separation, 
Now keep my love secure. 
Oh Lord supreme in power, 
Oh wisest and most fair, 
My love at every hour 
I yield unto your care. 

The cross of our salvation 
Is cause of my despair; 
The cross, my deprivation, 
And God heeds not my prayer. 
Oh cross that pilgrims carry 
Why do you harm me so? 
Alas, a wretch, I tarry 
From fever all aglow. 

The emperor by stern decree 
Keeps peace where he holds sway; 
And yet he wages war on me 
And steals my hope away. 
Oh Lord supreme in power, 
Oh wisest and most fair, 
My love at every hour 
I yield unto your care. 

Guittone d'Arezzo 223 

When he became crusader 
Surely I did not know 
That he, my sweet persuader — 
My love who loved me so — 
Would lead me to this anguish 
And lock my heart away. 
A prisoner, I languish; 
My life has lost its day. 

The ships at anchor riding 
Await fair winds to start; 
And all with him wait tiding 
Who bears away my heart. 
Oh Father who did make us, 
Pray, guide them safe to shore; 
They journey in your service 
To free the cross you bore. 

And you, my dear Dolcetto, 
You know the pain I bear; 
Write me a sweet sonetto 
To send when you are there; 
For I have nothing to withstand 
This everlasting strife. 
My love's gone to the Holy Land 
And with him goes my life. 



Have Mercy, Love! Give Ear 

Amor, merze, intende s'eo ragione 

Have mercy, Love! Give ear, 

For I seek justice at your court: 

You have taken away my liberty, 

And delivered me into the power of my lady, 

224 Italy 

And always, in every way, you oppose me — 

But why, since I am in your hands? 

Why do you not strike her instead, 

Who with her wit and her will makes war against you? 

You show yourself an unjust lord 
If you spare her and seek my death; 
Unless it is that you lack the power. 

Very easily, I believe, you could have her for your vassal, 

But if you cannot subdue her, 

At least have mercy on me, who am your servant. 



O Love, All Love Above 
Amor de caritate, ferche m'hai si ferito? 

O Love, all love above, 

Why hast thou struck me so? 

All my heart, broke atwo, 

Consumed in flames of love, 
Burning and flaming cannot find solace; 
It cannot fly from torment, being bound; 
Like wax among live coal it melts apace; 
It languishes alive, no help being found; 
Seeking a grace to fly a little space, 
A glowing furnace is its narrow pound. 

In such a deadly swound, 

Alas, where am I brought? 

Living with death so fraught! 

O leaping flames of love! 

Before I ventured forth I dared demand 
The love of Christ, expecting only sweet; 
Thinking in peace of sweetness I could stand 

Jacopone da Todi 225 

Without a pain; but, being come to it, 
I suffer torments of a molten brand; 
And all my heart is melted by its heat. 

I find no figure meet 

To tell this curious smart, 

To live without a heart, 

Daily to die of love. 

Ah! I have lost my heart and all my sense, 

Desire and all delight and all sensation; 

All beauty seemeth filth to me; and hence 

Pleasaunce and power of riches are damnation. 

A laden tree of love for recompense, 

Set in my heart, doth yield me consolation; 

Maketh great alteration; 

Doth brook no least delay; 

Thrusts out and drives away 

Sense, strength and my self-love. 

To purchase this one thing I ventured all 
The world; in this exchange gave all I had. 
If I had all things ever made, to call 
My own, I give them freely and were glad. 
But love deceived me somewhat; I gave all, 
And now I know not whither I am led. 

And people think me mad. 

Now that I have been bought; 

They set my worth at naught; 

I am undone by love. 

My friends imagined they could call me back; 
My friends who travel by another road; 
The slave is helpless to forsake his track, 
Nor can the bondman lay aside his load. 
Sooner the stone might soften and be slack 
Than love, who holds me in his strait abode. 

Oh, to my soul a goad! 

Love burns it through and through. 

226 Italy 

Transformed, united, who 
Can sunder it from love? 

Not iron nor the fire can separate 

Or sunder those whom love doth so unite. 

Not suffering nor death can reach the state 

To which my soul is ravished. From its height, 

Beneath it, lo! it sees all things create; 

It dominates the range of dimmest sight. 

My soul, by what a flight 

Hast thou this high reward? 

It is of Christ the Lord; 

Embrace the Lord of love. 

I have no longer eyes for forms of creatures. 

I cry to him who doth alone endure. 

Though earth and heaven exhaust their varied natures, 

Through love their forms are thin and no wise sure. 

When I had looked upon his splendid features, 

Light of the sun itself was grown obscure. 

Cherubim, rare and pure 

By knowledge and high thought, 

The Seraphim, are naught 

To him who looks on love. 

If such a love confoundeth all my wit, 
Against me let no blame henceforth be held. 
No heart could fly if love should beckon it. 
No heart could brave the anguish I have felt. 
How is it able to endure such heat? 
How is it that the poor heart doth not melt? 

Ah! if I but beheld 

A soul to take a part 

Of pity for my heart, 

To know the pains thereof! 

I would love more and better if I could. 
My heart hath uttered all it ever knew. 
I am not able, freely as I would- 

Jacopone da Todi 227 

To give the already given gift anew. 
I gave myself, to hold, for all my good, 
This Lover who reneweth bone and thew. 

Beauty antique and new, 

Since that my heart hath found 

Light without pause or bound; 

Oh, splendor of thy love! 

Seeing such wealth of beauty, I am drawn 
Without myself; am borne I know not where. 
My heart doth yield, and, being held in pawn, 
Like wax receives the seal love setteth there. 
So rash a bargain never yet was drawn. 
To put on Christ I strip me stark and bare. 

My heart, transformed and fair, 

For very love doth weep; 

Waves of its sweetness steep 

My heart in boundless love. 

My soul transformed, almost the very Christ; 
One with her God, she is almost divine; 
Riches above all riches to be priced, 
All that is Christ's is hers, and she is queen. 
How can I still be sad, despair-enticed, 
Or ask for medicines to cure my spleen? 

The fetid sweet from sin, 

With sweetness overspread; 

The old forgot and dead, . 

In the new reign of love. 

In Christ a goodly creature am I born. 
The old stripped off, I am a new made man. 
But with a knife my heart is gashed and torn, 
Where flaming love, a molten metal, ran. 
Wisdom and sense burnt off and wholly shorn 
Christ is my own, and beauty beyond ken. 

Flung in his arms' great span, 

The cry of love rings higher: 

228 Italy 

Love, whom I so desire, 
Make me to die of love. 

For thee, for love, I languish and I burn. 
I sigh for thy embraces soon and late. 
When thou art hence, I live and die; I yearn 
And groan and whine in very piteous state 
To find thee; and my heart, at thy return, 
Fainteth with fear lest aught should separate. 

Therefore no longer wait. 

Come, love, to succor me. 

Compel me; bound to thee, 

Consume my heart with love. 

I am grown dumb, discreet discourse who held. 
Once I could see the light who now am blind. 
Such an abyss has never been beheld. 
But mute, I speak; I fly, in chains confined; 
Falling I mount; I hold and am compelled; 
I follow, my pursuer pants behind. 

O passion unconfined! 

My folly is complete, 

By reason of the heat, 

The fury of the stove. 


Virtue availeth not without control. 
Control the love wherewith thou lovest me. 
Do thou with virtue renovate thy soul; 
Since thou desirest so to come at me. 
Controlled and duly ordered, sane and whole, 
I will the love which thou shalt offer me. 

How doth one prove a tree, 

If not by what it yield? 

Worth in this wise is sealed 

To all things, by a proof. 

Everything which I have formed and made 
Is made with number, measure and array. 

Jacopone da Todi 229 

Unto their end all things in rank are laid; 
By order 'tis all things pass not away. 
Love, more than all the rest, is held and staid 
In order by its nature, in a way. 

But if the fervent ray 

Of love hath made thee mad 

And shapeless, be not glad; 

Fervor hath ruined love. 


Christ, now thou hast stolen my heart, thou say'st: 
"Set thy soul's love in order," to thy worm. 

But how, transformed in thee, so deeply graced, 

Can I be lord of me, or rule the storm? 

As iron in the fire grows plastic paste, 

As air transfixed by sun grows light and warm, 

And lose their ancient form, 

And take a new allure, 

So be my soul, grown pure, 

Clad on with thee in love. 

Why hast thou brought me to a fiery place, 

If thou wilt have me to be temperate? 

When without measure thou didst give thy grace, 

Thou didst confound all sense of size and weight. 

Small thou didst fill my small heart's utmost space: 

1 have no scope to hold thee being great. 

If I be desperate, 
The fault is thine, not mine, 
O thou who didst define 
Conditions of our love. 

Thou canst not shield thyself from love. Love brought 
Thee captive by the road from heaven to earth. 
Thou didst descend to lowness to be naught, 
To roam a man rejected from thy birth; 
No house nor field enhanced thy lowly lot; 
Poor thou hast given riches and great worth. 
In life, in death, no dearth 

230 Italy 

Of love hast thou declared. 
Thy heart hath flamed and flared 
With nothing else but love. 

Wisdom remembered not to stint or rein 
Thy love, when passion bade the whole be poured. 
Thou wert not flesh, but love, in frame and brain; 
Love made thee man to bear our sin's reward. 
Thy love required the cross, the world's disdain. 
Thou didst not profit thee to speak a word 

To Pilate, or the horde 

Of those who wrought thy woe; 

Yearning to take the blow 

Upon the cross of love. 

Love, love, how thou hast dealt a bitter wound! 

I cry for nothing now but love alone. 

Love, love, to thee I am securely bound; 

I can embrace none other than my own. 

Love, love, so strongly hast thou wrapt me round, 

My heart by love for ever overthrown, 

For love I am full prone. 

Love, but to be with thee! 

O love, in mercv be 

My death, my death of love. 

Love, love, O Jesus, I have reached the port, 
Love, love, O Jesus, whither thou hast led. 
Love, love, 'tis thou hast given me support. 
Love, love, for ever am I comforted. 
Love, love, thou hast inflamed me in such sort, 
The goal of love is reached, and I am dead. 

To love for ever wed, 

Love hath cemented both 

Our hearts in perfect troth 

Of everlasting love. 


Folgore da San Gimignano 2,31 


Come, January, I Give You These Treats 
V doto voi, net mese di gennaio 

Come January, I give you these treats, 
a courtyard warmed by a straw-burning fire, 
and rooms and beds with elegant attire, 
with coverlets of fur and silken sheets, 

sugared nuts, sparkling wine and sweets, 
imported clothes such as you may desire: 
in this way, protection you would acquire, 
if either the north or the south wind beats. 

To go outdoors often each day in sport, 
to throw the beautiful and clean white snow 
at girls who stand about just to consort; 

and, when their fatigue began to show, 
the group would return to this court: 
where rest would be found by the fire's glow. 


In March, for You a Gift of Fish I Boast 
Di marzo si vi do una feschiera 

In March, for you a gift of fish I boast, 
with sturgeon and salmon, I will embark, 
and eels and dolphins and trout and blue shark, 
and all kinds of fish found near every coast; 

with boats in a fleet manned by a great host, 
a sloop, a schooner, a galleon, a bark, 
to take you oversea in light or dark 
to whatever port pleases you the most; 

there will be manors with servants and beasts, 
and other luxuries furnished for you, 

232 Italy 

with people to please you with fairs and feasts. 

You'll have no church there nor altar nor pew, 
abandon the preaching of madmen priests, 
who have many lies and little that's true. 


For April I Give You the Countryside 
D'wpril vi dono la gentil campagna 

For April I give you the countryside, 
its new-born grass and flowering expanse; 
with fountains of waters that stream and prance; 
and women and girls in whom to confide; 

from Spain lively horses on which to ride 
and people dressed in the style of France, 
who as if in Provence, will sing and dance 
to German music which I will provide. 

And there'll be gardens east and west, 
in which everyone's cares will soon take wing, 
and their adoration each will bequest 

to the sweet one to whom I gave the ring 
of rare jewels for her head, the very best 
that have Prester John or Babylon's king. 


In October, Figuring up Your Share 
D'ottobre net contado a huono stallo 

In October, figuring up your share, 
good dwellings, good prayers, and good sons are due; 
have a good time — there's a bird to pursue, 
go after it now, on foot or on mare. 

An evening of dancing must be your fare, 

Cecco Angiolieri 233 

and getting drunk on a vigorous brew, 
perhaps some red wine and I know it is true 
that this way of life is superbly rare. 

The morning after, the day will begin 
with washing your hands and face and the rest; 
the roast and the wine are choice medicine. 

But the cure that will make you healthiest 
is from lake, stream, or sea — some claw and fin; 
of all Christian lives, this one is the best! 



If I Were Fire, I'd Burn the World Away 
S'io fossi foco, arderei lo mondo 

If I were fire, I'd burn the world away; 

If I were wind, I'd knock it to the ground; 

If I were water, then it would be drowned. 

If I were God, I'd make it Satan's prey; 

If I were pope — ah! then I would be gay 

With addling every Christian that I found. 

If I were emperor, this would resound: 

''Off with the head of each who's in my sway!" 

If I were Death, I'd call upon my Dad; 

If I were Life, I'd flee from him apace, 

And toward my mother I'd be just as bad. 

If I were Cecco — just as is the case, 

I'd snap up all the young and pretty girls 

And leave the sick and faded to the churls. 


234 Italy 

Despair Herself Regards Me as Her Son 
La stremita mi richer fer figliuolo 

Despair herself regards me as her son, 
And I, indeed, must hold her as my dame. 
Great Pain begot me — thus was I begun. 
Black Melancholy was my nurse's name. 
My swaddling bands, of thorny fibers spun, 
From tattered sheets of coarsest sackcloth came. 
From tip to toe there's much in me to shun, 
For nothing good has place within this frame. 
Now, in my youth, to better my poor plight, 
I am bequeathed a wife who deems it fit 
To prate and quarrel long into the night 
In tones such as unstrung guitars emit. 

The widowed man alone is freed of blight. 

If he reweds, his wits have taken flight. 



You Have in You the Flowers and the Green Grass 
Avete in voi li fiori e la verdura 

You have in you the flowers and the green grass: 
And what is shining or is fair to see: 
Light of the sun your own light doth surpass: 
Who has not seen you, worthless wight must be! 

And in this worid of ours, no creature is 
So full of pleasure and delightfulness: 
If any man fear love, new courage his, 
Seeing your face, so much himself to bless! 

The ladies all, that bear you company, 
For your dear sake, are pleasing to my sight, 
And I would beg them of their courtesy, 

Guido Cavalcanti 235 

To do you honor, each to strive her best, 
And in your sovereignty to have delight 
Since of them all you are the loveliest. 


Who's This That Comes, as Each Man 

Looks at Her 
Chi e questa che vien, ctiogni uom la mira 

Who's this that comes, as each man looks at her, 
Makes tremulous with clarity the air, 
And leads Love with her, so that speak or stir 
Can none among us: all have sighs to spare! 

Alas! How seems she when her eyes she turns? 
Let Love relate what I may not explain : 
Yet such esteem her modest bearing earns, 
Another in her place shall earn disdain. 

Uncounted are the gifts that make her rich: 
To her the Gentle Virtues are obeisant: 
Beauty, as Beauty's Goddess, doth approve her. 

Nor was our mind turned to so high a pitch, 
Nor of its health so properly complaisant, 
That we could have a proper knowledge of her. 


Beauty of Woman of Noble Heart 
Belta di donna di yiacente core 

Beauty of woman of noble heart, 
And armed knights of gentle breeding, 
Birds singing, and talk of love, 
Brave ships running swiftly on the sea, 

236 Italy 

Soft breezes at the break of day, 

And white snow falling in the still air, 

Green river banks, and fields of flowers, 

Jewels of gold and silver, and azure ornaments — 

These, the beauty and the nobility of my lady 
And her gentle heart so far surpass 
That they seem base to the beholdeT. 

So far she exceeds all other beauty 

As the heavens exceed the earth : 

Happiness comes soon with one of such nature. 


If Mercy Were a Friend to My Desires 
Se Merce fosse arnica a miei desiri 

If Mercy were a friend to my desires 

And took her motion from the very heart 

Of my most fair, if Mercy could impart 

That balm which my harsh suffering requires, 

Then would the thrilling agony of sighs — sired 

By a mind that dwells on Cupid's art 

And never in discoursing will depart 

From that great theme, though none be thus inspired 

To pity me — then would those sighs ascend 

With so much might and force that fiery tears 

Would be transmuted into burning joys. 

Instead they wreak the havoc that destroys 

The heart, darkens the soul, rousing such fears 

That men disdain me, for my looks offend. 


Guido Cavalcanti 237 

You've Filled My Mind So Full of Grief 

Tu m'hai si fiena di dolor la mente 

You've filled my mind so full of grief, 
My soul now shudders to depart. 
The sighs sent out by my unhappy heart 
Testify my suffering will be brief. 

Love, sensing your high nobility, 

Says: "It hurts me much that you should die 

For this cruel girl, who won't try 

To hear you with a touch of sympathy." 

I move like one who walks outside life's line, 
Who seems, at glance, as if he might be pressed 
From copper, or from wood, or stone, 

Moving by outside governance alone, 
Bearing a wound deep within his breast, 
That is, of his sure death, an open sign. 


O Lady Mine, Caught You No Glimpse of Him 
O donna mia, non vedestu colui 

O lady mine, caught you no glimpse of him 
Who held his hand pressed down upon my heart 
when I made answer to you, choked and hoarse, 
shrinking before the fierce thrust of his dart? 
That hand was Love's, who, having found us out, 
followed me close even when I came away — 
a Syrian archer, swift of pace and keen, 
intent alone on killing his poor prey. 

Out of your eyes thereafter he drew sighs 

and plunged them with such force into my heart 

238 Italy 

that I fled off from him aghast with fear, 
only to come straightway upon Lord Death 
flanked by those savage bearers of his arms 
who take men's lives and do not heed their tears. 


We're the Pens, Saddened and Dismayed 
Noi siam le triste fenne ishigotite 

We're the pens, saddened and dismayed, 
The scissors and the sorrowing knife 
Who cut these words of strife 
That you've just now surveyed. 

We'll tell you why we've moved apart 
And come to you, reader, now and here. 
The hand that formed us felt great fear: 
O, fearsome forms beset his heart, 

Forms that had him so unmanned 
They almost forced him to his end, 
For he had nothing left but sighs. 

Now we beg you, strongly as we can: 
Please consider us your friends. 
Let us see one pair of gentle eyes! 


A Lady Begs Me 
Donna mi prega 

A lady begs me, so I must now speak 
of that accident, fierce so many a time, 
and so sublime, which we on earth call love, 
and I shall prove the truth to those who seek 

Guido Cavalcanti 239 

it not. But one who understands I must now find, 

since one whose heart is evil — there's no doubt — 

to such a subject cannot raise his mind; 

for, unless I can prove what I'm about 

to sing, I do not wish at all to tell 

where it does dwell, and who can make it be, 

and what its virtue is, its power as well, 

its essence and its motions, and why we 

call love the thing we like, and whether men 

can show it so that soon it may be seen. 

Right in that part where our memory dwells 

it takes life, just as the diaphanous 

takes form from light. By some strange darkness' spell, 

which from Mars, its abode, comes down to us, 

it is created: though its name is sense, 

it's the soul's habit and the heart's desire. 

It starts out of a form, perceived by chance 

yet understood, which soon comes to acquire 

both place and home in the Possible Intellect, 

as in a subject. There it feels no ache 

since from plain quality you don't expect 

it to be: in itself it shines, for its own sake, 

a perpetual effect; it gives no pleasure, 

but thought, unable to grant a face's features. 

It is no virtue, but it learns its way 

from what is called perfection — but not that 

of reason, that of sentiment, I say. 

In its own health its judgment's habitat 

is not, for reason and intention, oh, 

are worth one thing; its discernment is false 

in vicious people. Often death can flow 

from its great might, if the virtue that succors 

its opposite path is strongly hampered: this 

is not because it is opposed to nature, 

but because, as we know, men's fate it is 

to be so snatched away from perfect pleasure 

as to be, so astray, no more alive : 

when they forget, to this same death they arrive. 

240 Italy 

Its being is when such is the desire 

as to go far beyond all nature's measures : 

and it adorns itself with leisure never. 

Onward it moves, changing hues, laughter, tears, 

and disfigures its face with fear's displeasure; 

little it stays; and you will find that ever 

it lives with those whose worth is the most high. 

The new quality causes many a sigh, 

and makes man stare into the empty space, 

while ire, ablaze, soon rises and (you must 

experience it, to understand its rage) 

makes him not shun the blows that are being thrust 

at him, nor move at all to find some lull, 

for his mind cannot offer help at all. 

From likeness does the glance draw life and marrow, 

which makes the bliss look like reality: 

when it is struck, it cannot be concealed. 

Oh, not in timid beauty hides the arrow, 

for such a wish is chased away by fright: 

a wounded spirit does achieve its boon. 

And nothing will you learn just from the face 

you look at: such a whiteness falls on it, 

that (if you listen well) no form is seen, 

unless a quick result proceeds from it. 

Faint is the sheen of what in darkness lies, 

far from the brightness of its life divided. 

One whom I trust and is with truth adorned 

affirms: from this alone can bliss be born. 

Fearing no harm, my song, you can now go 
wherever you wish : with such glow have I 
adorned you, you'll be praised by those who know 
when all your reasoning shall be revealed: 
from others you can well remain concealed. 


Guido Cavalcanti 241 

Fresh Newborn Rose 
Fresca rosa novella 

Fresh newborn rose, 1 
My beauteous Spring, 
Through field, by river, 
Gaily singing 
Your noble worth I bring 

To nature. 

Your truly noble worth 

Renews itself with joy 

In aged man or boy 

With every setting forth. 

Birds chant to it their vows, 

Each in his Latin, 

From evening to matin, 

On greenish boughs. 

The whole world's now with song 

Since it's your season 

And, with good reason, 

Hymns your majesty: 

For you're the most heavenly 

Of creatures. 
Heavenly features 
In you, my lady, rest; 
O God, how wondrous blessed 
Seems my desire. 
Lady, your glad expression, 
As it comes and passes, 
Nature and custom surpasses 
In wonderful digression. 
Together women admire 
Your truly godlike form, 
For you are so adorned 
Your beauty's not transcribed: 

1 Secret name for the poet's lady. 

242 Italy 

O, can't it be described — 

Beyond nature? 

Beyond our human nature 
God formed your excellence 
To show by its very essence 
That you were born to rule. 
Now, that your noble face 
May rest forever near, 
To me keep ever dear 
Your most abundant grace. 
And, if I seem a silly fool 
To set you as my queen : 
Know that I don't blaspheme, 
For Love makes me courageous 
Which still no force assuages — 

Nor measure. 


There in a Woodland, to My Thought More Bright 
In un boschetto trova pasturella 

There in a woodland, to my thought more bright 
Than a star's light, I found a shepherdess. 

Her hair she had golden and ringleted, 
And her eyes full of love, rosy her hue: 
With a small switch her lambs she pastured, 
And being barefoot, she was bathed with dew. 
Singing she was, as though with love she burned, 
And was adorned with all delightfulness. 

With love I did salute her thereupon 
And asked if she had any company 
Whereto she answered in a gentle tone 
Alone, alone she walked the woodland way, 

Guido Cavalcanti 243 

And said: "Know thou, that when the birds complain 
Then I am fain, a lover to possess." 

No sooner had she told me her condition 

And through the wood I heard the birds to sing 

Than in myself I said: "Now is the season 

Out of this shepherdess my joy to wring." 

Mercy I asked her that to kiss with lips 

And love with clips, she should have willingness. 

And then my hand she took most amorously 
And said her heart a gift to me she made 
And led me underneath a shadowy tree 
Where many a flower I saw of every shade 
And such a joy and sweetness to me brought, 
I saw, methought, the god of tenderness. 


Since I No Longer Hope, O My Sweet Song 
Perch'i' non sfero di tornar giammai 

Since I no longer hope, O sweet song, 

To see my Tuscan land, 

Go, calm and quiet, and 

Seek the fair lady to whom you belong 

And who, when you reach her gentle face, 

Will greet you with her grace. 

You will bring news of sighs 

Replete with anguish and bewilderment; 

But try not to be caught by impure eyes 

Of people who of love are diffident, 

For so would they impede 

Your loving speed 

That I would suffer for it, and this ache 

Would render my death painful and would make 

244 Italy 

Even my after-death 

A thought of sorrow and immense distress. 

You know well, little song, how death's strong grip 

Now holds me and how life is failing me, 

And you feel how my heart is beating fast 

Now that each spirit says it cannot last. 

My body's so worn out 

That my own suffering I cannot feel 

Any more : if you will 

Help me, oh, carry my spirit along — 

This is my last request — 

That it may leave my heart's unrest. 

Oh, little song, I do 

Recommend to your friendship 

This soul of mine that trembles in dismay: 

Take it with you in all its pain 

To that fair lady who lives far away. 

When you are before her, tell her, pray, 

With a sweet sigh : 'This humble servant comes 

To be with you forever, 

And he has sent her here who never 

Ceased to be servant of love." 

You, my bewildered voice — oh no, a moan 

Leaving my doleful heart as a last tear — , 

Go with my soul and with this song of mine, 

And say that my mind has been destroyed by fear. 

You will soon find a lady sweet and fair, 

And so considerate, 

That it will be your joy and happiness 

Ever to be before her. 

Oh, quick, my soul, adore her 

For all her worthiness. 


Dante 245 


To Guido Cavalcanti 
A Guido Cavalcanti 

Guido, I should wish that you, Lapo and I, 
Caught in the net of the enchanters spell, 
Were set into a bark whose sails should swell 
With every vagrant wind that happened by, 

So that no turn of chance or change of sky 
Should mar our ease or hinder our delight. 
No, rather as we shared one hope we might 
Share the desire to sail on endlessly. 

And Monna Vanna and Monna Lagia too, 
And she who's named among the thirty fair 
Should join our crew through Merlin's sorceries 

And join our talk of Love as Love might please; 
And there with us, removed from every care, 
Rejoice with us as we would wish them to. 


Beyond the Sphere Which Turns Most Distant 
Oltre la Sfera, eke fiu larga gira 

Beyond the sphere which turns most distant 
Passes the sigh which issues from my heart: 
A strange intelligence which Love, 
Weeping, gives it, draws it ever upward. 

When it has come where it desires to be, 
It sees there a lady who receives such honor 

246 Italy 

And such light that by her own splendor 
This pilgrim spirit sees her. 

It sees her such that when it returns to tell me of her 
I do not comprehend, so subtly does it speak 
To the sorrowing heart that questions it. 

All I know is that it speaks of that gentle one, 

Because I hear it say Beatrice often, 

And that I understand quite well, dear ladies. 


Nothing Will Ever Seem to Me More Cruel 

Nulla mi farve mai pin crudel cosa 

Nothing will ever seem to me more cruel 
Than she I serve, and serving waste my life, 
For my desire is caught in flames of love 
And hers is bound within a frozen lake. 

So pitiless and cold is she, whose beauty 
I gaze upon and thereby cheat myself, 
So deeply do I yearn for my own torment 
No other pleasure dares to tempt my eyes. 

She who turns her face upon the sun, 

And keeps her love unchanged through her own changing, 

Had not so bitter a lot as I have drawn. 

Then, Giannin, since that proud one binds 
My heart to love until I breathe my last, 
Out of compassion sigh a little with me. 


Dante 247 

To a Short Day and a Great Ring of Shadow 
Al foco giorno, ed al gran cerchio d' ombra 

To a short day and a great ring of shadow 

have I come alas! and a whitening of hills, 

as they lose color with the clouded grass. 

And still my passion does not change its green, 

so fast it is in the hard soul of stone 

that looks and speaks and heeds me like a woman. 

And in the same way this springtime woman 
stands frozen like the snow in shadow; 
because she is not moved, no more than stone 
is, when the sweet weather warms the hills 
and turns them back again from white to green 
to cover them with little flowers and grass. 

When she wears her hair in a garland of grass, 
our minds are charmed away from every woman 
save her who mingles curled yellow and green 
so neat that Love comes there to stand in shadow, 
Love who fixes me between small hills 
more firmly than mortar fixing stone. 

Her beauty dearer than a precious stone 
works a wound not cured by healing grass, 
and I have fled through plains and past the hills 
with hope to save myself from such a woman; 
yet her dazzle gives no rest in shadow 
cast by wall or knoll or leafy green. 

I have sometimes seen her dressed in green 

so made she might have then provoked in stone 

the love I suffer even for her shadow : 

therefore in the fairest meadow grass 

I craved to see her lovesick as ever woman 

was — and bounded by the highest hills. 

248 Italy 

But rivers will return to run uphill 
sooner than, for me, this damp green 
wood take fire, as should a pretty woman; 
so could I bring myself to sleep on stone 
a lifetime and roam and feed on grass 
only to watch her garments set a shadow. 

And when the hills throw their darkest shadow, 
under such green beauty this young woman 
melts it, vanished like a stone in grass. 

sonia raiziss and Alfredo de palchi 

I Seek to Make My Speech a Yawp as Bitter 
Cost net mio farlar 

I seek to make my speech a yawp as bitter 

As is her every act, the stone I prize, 

Who now and always petrifies 

Anew her nature, her obduracy; 

And clothes her in an adamantine glitter 

That turns the arrow aside (or else she shies), 

No matter from what bow it flies 

Or quiver comes to pierce her nudity. 

The other dies, although he tries to flee 

Or shuts him in against the deathly blow 

That goes as sure as wings can go 

To where he is and shatters his defense. 

Lost to myself, I make of her no sense. 

There is no shield I find she does not shatter, 

Nor place which grants asylum from her frown; 

For, as the leaf can grow no other crown 

But flowers, she blossoms from my topmost soul. 

My anguish seems to her as small a matter 

As mild waves' lapping to the galleon; 

And yet the weight that weighs me down 

Is one that no rime's counter-weight can equal. 

Dante 249 

Ah, agonizing lure, as deaf as cruel, 

Who deafly wear my life away — say how 

Can you not learn to disavow 

This gnawing, rind by rind, toward my heart's core, 

As I the baring of your source of power! 

Thinking of her my heart begins to shudder, 

Especially beneath the stranger's gaze, 

For fear my shining thought betrays 

Itself to others, shining out of me; 

Nor death at my nerves' ends compels more utter 

Terror, though with teeth of Love it graze; 

Because that thought puts out of phase 

The force that makes act out of energy. 

Struck to the earth, I see still straddling me, 

The sword in hand whose thrust made Dido die, 

Love, for whose grace I cry, 

Cry, "Mercy! Mercy!" pray him, bowing low, 

Though merciless, he knows no word but no. 

He lifts his hand from time to time and taunts 

My ebbing life; for he is most perverse, 

Who holds me racked upon the earth, 

Back pinned, too tired even to buck or flail. 

Cries rise within my mind, and blood that shunts 

From vein to further vein and is dispersed, 

Now fugitive, its course reversed, 

Must hunt the heart that calls it, leave me pale. 

Under the left arm, he aims a thrust so fell 

It raises anguish in my heart again. 

"Let him lift," I cry out then, 

'That hand once more, and I within death's dark 

Shall dwell before the blow complete its arc." 

Would I could see Love split that bitch's heart 

In half, who hacked my own till scarce a fourth 

Survives. Death would not find me loathe, 

Toward which for her fair sake I urge myself. 

In sunlight as in shade she can impart 

One solace only, thief and killer both. 

Oh Christ, if she in hell's hot broth 

250 Italy 

For me, as I for her, would dog-like yelp, 

How soon I'd cry to her, 'Til help! I'll help!" 

And gladly help, like those who in the yellow hair 

Of girls, entwine (so I with her) 

Their hands. Ah, when I hold what love embossed 

For my defeat in gold, perhaps she'll love me at last. 

Once grasped, I would not loose those lovely tresses, 

That serve me only as a scourge, a flail; 

But seizing them at Matins bell 

Hang on till Vespers and till Midnight ring. 

Without courtesy or pity, my caresses 

Would take the playful bear as their ideal; 

And just as Love now makes me reel 

Beneath their stripes, a thousand times I'd wring 

From her exaction. In those eyes which fling 

Live fire toward my heart that she's left dead, 

I'd stare — head fixed to neighboring head, 

Till vengeance cancel out rejection's pain; 

And only then in love permit her peace again. 

Go song, go straight, seek out my lady, 
Wlio wounds my heart and steals from me 
The sole hope of satiety. 
Go, thrust an arrow through her heart, 
For vengeance is a seemly art. 



Tenzone Sequence 


Chi udisse tossir la vialfatata 

Whoever's heard the run-down wife 
Of Bicci — called Forese — cough 

Dante and Forese Donati 2,51 

Might think she spends her winter-life 
Up north, where the icicles drop. 

Even in the middle of August, she sneezes. 
(Think how she suffers the rest of the year!) 
She wears her shoes to bed — but freezes. 
Covers that cover cost too dear. 

The cough, the cold and such distress 
Don't come because the poor dear's overripe. 
She's cold because Bicci's fled her nest. 

Her mother's weeping for griefs that mount: 

"To think! For just a dowry of tripe 

I could've married her to a Guido count!" 


L'altra notte mi venne una gran tosse 

The other night I had a coughing fit 
Because there wasn't a cover for my back. 
Soon as day dawned, out I tracked 
For any gold I could walk off with. 

Listen how fortune gave me riches: 
Here I was looking for a pearl-filled box 
Or pretty florins with gold-minted gloss — 
But found Alighieri by the graveyard ditches, 

Tied in a knot whose name I didn't know 
(Maybe it's Solomon or some other prophet.) 
I crossed myself, facing the eastern glow, 

As he said: "For the love of Dante, undo 

These knots." I tried — but to no profit. 

Then I turned back and saw my journey through. 

252 Italy 


Ben ti faranno il nodo Salamone 

Solomon's knot will soon be wrapping you in, 
Bicci junior, with those necks of quail. 
Those expensive cuts of mutton will make you wail 
Your sins recorded on the dead sheep-skin. 

Your house'll be even closer to Saint Simon Jail 
Unless, of course, you make a getaway. 
But now, I'm afraid, it's too late to repay 
Those debts — unless your appetite should fail. 

They tell me, though, you've got a clever hand, 

And if it's true, you'll be just like new, 

Because you can pick up several thousand grand. 

Maybe this art will ease gluttony's grief. 
You'll pay your debts and stay in Florence too. 
But is it better than being a glutton — to be a thief? 


Bicci novel, figliuol di non so cui 

Bicci junior, son of I-know-not-who 
(Unless I asked your mother, Lady Tess), 
So much stuff goes in and out of you 
That, naturally, you must turn to thievishness. 

Already everybody's on his guard 
Who has a wallet, when you're nearby, 
Saying: "Look at that man, how scarred! 
A common crook! He acts so sly!" 

In bed your daddy keeps an all-night tryst 
With his conscience, praying you're not caught. 
Your dad? Yes. Like Joseph was to Christ. 

Cino da Pistoia 253 

Of Bicci and Brothers, I'd write many pieces: 
How with tainted gold they pursue their lot, 
But treat their wives politely — like nieces. 



Ah Me, Alas! Am I So Very Base 

Oime lasso! or sonvi tanto a noia 

Ah me, alas! Am I so very base 

That you disdain me as your wretched foe 

Because I love and strive against my woe, 

Unable to unlove so fair a face? 

I'll kill myself if you'll but think it grace; 

For that faint hope that keeps my life aglow 

Darkens to such despair words cannot say : 

When pity stirs unpity that's the case. 

All that from which before I nourished peace — 

Sweet love by which I found me comforted — 

Now turns to strife from which there's no surcease. 

Thus it is fit that, since you wish me dead, 

I kill myself and thus obtain release; 

Thus wrong prevails where right should win instead. 


Love Is a Subtle Spirit That Can Slay 
Amore e uno Sfirito ctiancide 

Love is a subtle spirit that can slay: 
Begotten by delight, born at a glance, 
It pierces with the fury of a lance; 
And those poor faculties that bar its way 
Stand unavailing to prevent such prey, 
While Mercy's mute to halt its dire advance. 
Such were the words my mind in its mischance 

254 Italy 

And my bewildered soul had cause to say 
When my unweary eyes, too bold for fears, 
Chanced on the fairest wight I ever met, 
By whom my heart, as now too well appears, 
Was shattered quite. Better that Death had set 
On me instead, for unremitting tears 
Were all my love begot or will beget. 


Ah, Woe to Me Alas, for Love Has Bound 
Omel ch'io sono all' amoroso nodo 

Ah, woe to me, alas, for Love has bound 
Me straight with two bright tresses, silken blond, 
And, like the poor belimed bird, I've found 
That every struggle but secures the bond, 
Whereat I'm lost, unless I hear the sound 
Of her sweet voice whence Pity may respond; 
For still I strive and thus I still confound 
Desired escape, and thus I more despond. 
And, more bewildering still, I see increase 
Of radiance in those precious knots of gold, 
Those glowing tresses that will not release 
The fearful fluttering heart that they enfold. 
Ah, Pity, help me; you alone may ease 
Where Love with but one charm has taken hold. 



To Cino da Pistoia 
A Cino da Pistoia 

Mind and humble and more than a thousand 
Basketfuls of spirits and your air of walking 

in your sleep 

Petrarch 255 

Make me think there is no way 

To make sense of you in your rhyming mood. 

I know not what makes you do it, 
Whether it is love or death, but with your 

philosophic airs 
You have wearied even the strongest 
Of those who hear your beautiful, conceited song. 

Moreover we all find quite burdensome 
Your colloquies of three with another person, 
And your four-voiced discussions with yourself: 

Truly, all human burdens seem sweet 
In comparison with what you cause 
A man to endure who reads you. 



If Life Survives These Years of Bitter Woe 
Se la mia vita da Vasyro tormento 

If life survives these years of bitter woe 
Which I have suffered through your loveliness, 
One day, toward the end of my distress, 
I shall perceive your eyes have lost their glow, 
Your golden hair is gray upon your brow, 
Your garlands faded, and your verdant dress, 
And all these beauties vanished which oppress 
My fainting spirit, hesitant and slow. 

Perhaps then I will find at last the strength 
To tell you of the torments I endure, 
And how it was with me this day and year. 
And if, by chance, desire has fled at length, 

256 Italy 

At least my agony will then secure 
The comfort of a sympathetic tear. 


It Is the Evening Hour; the Rapid Sky 
Ne la stagion che 'I del rapido inchina 

It is the evening hour; the rapid sky 

Bends westward; and the hasty daylight flees 

To some new land, some strange expectant race. 

An old and weary pilgrim-woman sees 

The lonely foreign desert-dark drawn nigh. 

Fearful, she urges on her stumbling pace. 

And to her resting-place 

At length she comes, and knows 

The sweetness of repose; 

The pains of pilgrimage, the road's duress 

Fade in enveloping forgetfulness. 

But oh, alas, my hurts that ache by day 

Are but more pitiless 

When the light sinks into the west away. 

When the sun's burning wheels have sped along, 

And night pursues, rolling its deepest black 

From highest peaks into the sheltered plain, 

The sober woodsman slings upon his back 

His tools, and sings his artless mountain-song, 

Discharging on the air his load of pain. 

And yet his only gain 

Is, on his humble board, 

The food the woods afford, 

Acorns, which poets honor, yet abjure. 

Let him be happy, let him sleep secure, 

Though I no happiness have ever won, 

No rest, no ease, no cure, 

For all the turning of the stars and sun. 

Petrarch 257 

And when the shepherd sees the evening shade 

Rising and graying o'er the eastward land, 

And the sun dropping to its nightly nest, 

He rises; takes his well-worn crook in hand; 

And leaves the grass, the spring, the beechen glade, 

And quietly leads the tired flock to its rest. 

He finds a cave, recessed 

In crags, wherein to spread 

Green branches for his bed, 

And there he sleeps, untroubled, solitary. 

But then, O cruel Love, the more you harry 

My breaking strength to that most hopeless chase 

Of her who flees apace, 

And Love will never aid to noose the quarry. 

In the sea's vales the sailors on their bark 

Throw down their limbs on the hard boards to sleep 

When the sun dips beneath the western main. 

Oh, though he hide within the farthest deep, 

And leave Morocco's mountains to the dark, 

Granada and the Pillars and all Spain, 

And though the worldwide pain 

Of suffering man and beast 

In the first night have ceased, 

There comes no night with mercy to conclude 

My ardor, ever in suffering renewed. 

My love grows old; soon shall my captor see me 

Ten years in servitude. 

And still no savior comes with strength to free me! 

And as I seek with words my wounds to numb, 

I watch at eve the unyoked oxen turning 

In from the fields, down from the furrowed hill. 

My yoke, alas, is never lifted from 

My shoulders, and my hurts are ever burning, 

And in my eyes the tears are springing still. 

Alas, it was my will 

To carve the unearthly grace 

Of her most lovely face 

258 Italy 

In the immutable matter of my heart. 

Now it is carved so deep that strength nor art 

May rub it thence until that final day 

When soul and the body part. 

Even then, perhaps, it will not pass away. 

O my unhappy song, 

My grief has made you grieve, 

You will not dare to leave 

My heart, to show your sorrows anywhere; 

And yet, for others' praise you shall not care, 

For all your burden is the weight of pain 

Left by the flames that flare 

From the cold rock to which I cling, in vain. 


Father in Heaven, after Each Lost Day 
Padre del ciel, dofo i ferduti giorni 

Father in heaven, after each lost day, 
Each night spent raving with that fierce desire 
Which in my heart has kindled into fire 
Seeing your acts adorned for my dismay; 

Grant henceforth that I turn, within your light 
To another life and deeds more truly fair, 
So having spread to no avail the snare 
My bitter foe might hold it in despite. 

The eleventh year, my Lord, has now come round 
Since I was yoked beneath the heavy trace 
That on the meekest weighs most cruelly. 

Pity the abject plight where I am found; 
Return my straying thoughts to a nobler place; 
Show them this day you were on Calvary. 


Petrarch 259 

She Used to Let Her Golden Hair Fly Free 

Erano i capei d'oro a Vaura spar si 

She used to let her golden hair fly free 
For the wind to toy and tangle and molest; 
Her eyes were brighter than the radiant west. 
(Seldom they shine so now.) I used to see 

Pity look out of those deep eyes on me. 
("It was false pity," you would now protest.) 
I had love's tinder heaped within my breast; 
What wonder that the flame burned furiously? 

She did not walk in any mortal way, 

But with angelic progress; when she spoke, 

Unearthly voices sang in unison. 

She seemed divine among the dreary folk 

Of earth. You say she is not so today? 

Well, though the bow's unbent, the wound bleeds on. 


Pale Beauty! and a Smile the Pallor There 
Quel vago impallidir eke 'I dolce riso 

Pale beauty! and a smile the pallor there 
Hung over tenderly, a veil of love 
Which sent such awe into my heart that above 
In my face it moved and shone out everywhere. 

I knew then how the saints in heaven's air 
Gaze on each other; what she was thinking of, 
In pity, to my eyes held shape enough, 
To others unseen; I cannot look elsewhere. 

2,6o Italy 

The most angelic glimpse, the humblest deed 

Of any woman deep in love, to this 

Would be a theme of scorn, it's praise unjust. 

She bent her kind sweet glance, but I could read 
What fell, these silent words I could not miss: 
Who is it steals from me the friend I trust? 


From Thought to Thought, from Mountain Peak 

to Mountain 
Di fensier in fensier, di monte in monte 

From thought to thought, from mountain peak to mountain, 

Love leads me on; for I can never still 

My trouble on the world's well-beaten ways. 

If on a barren heath there springs a fountain, 

Or a dark valley huddles under a hill, 

There may the grieving soul find quiet days; 

There freely she obeys 

Love's orders, laughing, weeping, hoping, fearing, 

And the face writes a gloss upon the soul, 

Now glad, now charged with dole, 

Not long in any manner persevering. 

At sight of me a man of subtle wit 

Would say, "He burns, and sees no end of it." 

In the high mountains, in the woods I find 

A little solace; every haunt of man 

Is to my mood a mortal enemy. 

At every step a new thought comes to mind 

Of my dear lady, whose remembrance can 

Turn all the hurt of love to gayety. 

I would no sooner be 

Quit of this bittersweet existence here, 

Than J reflect, "Yet even now Love may 

Petrarch 261 

Destine the better day; 

I, loathing self, may be to others dear!" 

So I go thinking, hoping, sighing, now; 

May it be true indeed? And when? And how? 

And in the shade of a pine tree or a hill 

I halt, and all the tumbled rocks near by 

Are pictured with the beauty of her face; 

And tears of tender melancholy fill 

My bosom; and "Alas! alas!" I cry, 

"What have I come to! From how far a place!" 

But, for the little space 

That the uneasy mind thus looks on her, 

Rapt out of self into another sphere, 

Then I feel Love so near 

That the tricked soul rejoices it should err. 

So clear I see her, and so fair and pure 

That I pray only that the fraud endure. 

Often I've seen her — who'll believe me now? — 

Treading the grass, cleaving the lucid water, 

Alive, alive, in a forest beech-trunk caught, 

White mid the clouds; so fair, Leda would vow 

The famous beauty of her lovely daughter 

Is dimmed as a star when the broad sun beams hot. 

And, in what savage spot 

I chance to be, in what most barren shore, 

Ever more beautiful she walks with me. 

Then, when Truth makes to flee 

My darling cheat, I find myself once more 

A dead stone statue, set on living stone, 

Of one who thinks and grieves and writes alone. 

Now it's my whole desire and all my pleasure 

Up to the highest mountain-pass to climb 

To dizzy and unshadowed solitude. 

And thence I send my flying gaze to measure 

My length of woe; I weep a little time; 

The mist of grief blows from my dismal mood. 

I stare afar and brood 

262 Italy 

On the leagues that lie between me and that face, 

Ever so near and yet so far away. 

Soft to myself I say, 

"My soul, be brave; perhaps, in that far place, 

She thinks of you in absence, and she sighs!" 

And my soul suddenly wakes and gladly cries. 

My song, beyond these alps, 

In the land where skies are gladder and more clear, 

You'll see me soon, where a quick streamlet flows, 

And where the fragrance blows 

Of the fresh Laurel that I love so dear. 

There is my heart, and she who reft it me; 

Here you may see only my effigy. 


I Find No Peace, yet Am Not Armed for War 
Pace non trovo, e non o da far guerra 

I find no peace, yet am not armed for war, 
In hope I fear, in ice I burn and gasp; 
I lie on earth, and in the sky I soar, 
Embrace the universe, and nothing clasp. 

She holds me trapped with neither lock nor noose, 
Nor keeps me for her own, nor breaks the chain; 
And Love itself will neither slay nor loose, 
Nor let me live, nor free me from my pain. 

I have no eyes, yet see; no tongue, yet cry, 
I long to perish, yet I voice my fears; 
Myself I hate, and for another sigh, 
I joy in sorrow, and I smile in tears: 
For death and life alike I am unfit, 
And you, my lady, are the cause of it. 


°etrarch 263 

Now Skies and Earth Are Stilled and Winds 

Are Dead 
Or che 'I del e la terra e 'I vento tace 

Now skies and earth are stilled and winds are dead, 
The beasts and restless birds are tethered in sleep, 
Night's starry car moves on in darkness deep, 
Unstirring seas lie quiet in their bed; 
I wake, brood, kindle, weep. She whose caprice 
Commands me gives this sweet pain no relief; 
My state is open war, dire anger, grief, 
Yet thoughts of her are all I know of peace. 

Constant from one pure, living source outpour 

The sweet, the bitter, to fulfill my need; 

One hand still heals my wound and makes it bleed; 

I die, am born, a thousand times each day 

Lest ceaseless struggle cast me safe ashore, 

Being ever from salvation far away. 


Absorbed in One Fond Thought That Makes 

Me Run 
Pien d'un vago fenser eke me desvia 

Absorbed in one fond thought that makes me run 
A solitary course, companionless, 
Sometimes, rapt deep in reveries, I confess, 
I seek out her whose pathways I should shun: 
I see her pass, so sweet, so cruelly 
Lovely my soul trembles and turns in flight, 
Such troops of sworded sighs throng there, unite 
Behind my own and Love's dear enemy. 

Yet surely, unless I err, a pitying gleam 
Illumines now that clouded, lofty brow; 

264 Italy 

This partly summons hope, gives me new heart; 
I call my soul to stand its ground; I seem 
About to stammer some audacious vow — 
But have so much to tell I dare not start. 


The Woods Are Wild and Were Not Made for Man 
Per mezz i boschi inosfiti e selvaggi 

The woods are wild and were not made for man. 
Now men and weapons fill them with their fear. 
I walk there free, the only terror near 
Being my Sun and the bright rays I scan — 

Her piercing Love! And I walk singing (but can 
Such thoughts be wise?) of her who in absence is here, 
Here in my eyes and heart to make me swear 
I saw girls, ladies, where beech and fir trees ran! 

I seem to hear her, when I hear the air, 

The leaves, the branches, and the plaint of birds, 

Or waters murmuring on through the green grass. 

Never so happy, never in silence so rare, 

Alone in a grim forest, without light, without words — 

But still too far out from my Sun I pass! 


Love, We Attend the Vision of the Rose 

Stiamo, Amor, a veder la gloria nostra 

Love, we attend the Vision of the Rose, 
Things above Nature unsurpassed and new; 

Petrarch 265 

See how in her the sweetness falls like dew! 
See how on earth that radiance Heaven shows! 

See now how Art, pearls, purple and gold bestows 
On that rich-favored person no man knew 
But here; who sweetly feet and eyebeams through 
Shade cloistered by the hills, moves as she goes. 

The emerald grass and thousand-colored flowers 

Sparse in the shade of that dark ancient tree 

Pray her white feet may touch their leaves of green; 

Blue sky all around the leafy sunlit bowers 

Bursts into flame and visibly makes glee 

That such bright eyes should make it all serene. 


Nowhere So Clearly Have My Inward Eyes 

Mai non fui in farte ove si chiar vedessi 

Nowhere so clearly have my inward eyes 
Beheld her whom my longing sight must lose, 
Nowhere am I so free as in Vaucluse, 
Nowhere so fill the air with amorous cries. 
No valley ever offered sorrowing guest 
Such deep seclusion, leafy, overgrown; 
I cannot think that Love has ever known 
On Cyprus or other shore so sweet a nest. 

These waters speak of love, the air, each tree. 
Bird, fish, and flower, the vines and grasses say 
Together, live and love while life is yours! 
But you, O noble lady summoning me, 
By memories of your bitter death, Oh pray 
That I despise the world its hooks and lures. 


266 Italy 

The Eyes That Drew from Me Such Fervent Praise 

Gli occhi di ch'io farlai si caldamente 

The eyes that drew from me such fervent praise, 
The arms and hands and feet and countenance 
Which made me a stranger in my own romance 
And set me apart from the well-trodden ways; 

The gleaming golden curly hair, the rays 
Flashing from a smiling angel's glance 
Which moved the world in paradisal dance, 
Are grains of dust, insensibilities. 

And I live on, but in grief and self-contempt, 
Left here without the light I loved so much, 
In a great tempest and with shrouds unkempt. 

No more love songs, then, I have done with such; 
My old skill now runs thin at each attempt, 
And ears are heard within the harp I touch. 


Great Is My Envy of You, Earth, in Your Greed 

Quanta invidia io ti forto, avara terra 

Great is my envy of you, earth, in your greed 
Folding her in invisible embrace, 
Denying me the look of the sweet face 
Where I found peace from all my strife at need! 

Great is my envy of heaven which can lead 
And lock within itself in avarice 
That spirit from its lovely biding-place 
And leave so manv others here to bleed! 

Petrarch 267 

Great is my envy of those souls whose reward 

Is the gentle heaven of her company, 

Which I so fiercely sought beneath these skies! 

Great is my envy of death whose curt hard sword 
Carried her whom I called my life away; 
Me he disdains, and mocks me from her eyes! 


The Nightingale Whose Ardent, Soft Despair 
Quel rosignuol eke si soave fiagne 

The nightingale whose ardent, soft despair 
For mate or offspring lost, unceasingly 
Sweetens the fields and skies with melody, 
With plaintive, brilliant notes suffusing the air, 
Accentuates my solitary pain 
And night-long, as it seems, accompanies me 
Who mourn my former self too blind to see 
That Death in goddesses could fix his reign. 

The easiest to deceive feels more secure! 
That two such lovely lights, outvieing the sun, 
Could ever darken to dust — who could believe? 
Now my unpitying fate I know; undone, 
Weeping, to learn that ecstasy must grieve. 
No joys that here below delight endure. 


Go, Grieving Rimes of Mine, to That Hard Stone 
he, rime dolenti, at duro sasso 

Go, grieving rimes of mine, to that hard stone 
Whereunder lies my darling, lies my dear, 

268 Italy 

And cry to her to speak from heaven's sphere. 
Her mortal part with grass is overgrown. 

Tell her, I'm sick of living; that I'm blown 

By winds of grief from the course I ought to steer, 

That praise of heT is all my purpose here 

And all my business; that of her alone 

Do I go telling, that how she lived and died 

And lives again in immortality, 

All men may know, and love my Laura's grace. 

Oh, may she deign to stand at my bedside 
When I come to die; and may she call to me 
And draw me to her in the blessed place! 


Small Wandering Bird Who Singing Go Your Way 
Vago augelletto che cantando vai 

Small wandering bird who singing go your way 
Or rather weeping, it may be, your past, 
Seeing your night and winter approaching fast 
Bright day behind you and the month of May — 
As you know well your own long-borne dismay 
So should you know I likewise am downcast: 
You'd come into this yearning heart at last 
To share its grievous pains if not to allay. 

I know not if your fortunes be the same 
For She for whom you weep perhaps still lives 
For whom, to rob me, greedy Death soon came; 
This season, this unwelcome hour revives 
Alike of bitter years and sweet the name, 
Courage with you to speak of pity gives. 


Fazio degli Uberti 269 

Death Cannot Sour the Sweetness of Her Face 
Non fo far Morte il dolce viso amaro 

Death cannot sour the sweetness of her face, 
Her sweet face can the sour of death dispel; 
She taught me the good life, and now she shall 
Teach me to die the good death, in its place. 

And He who shed His blood to give us grace, 
Who with His foot broke ope the gates of hell, 
Comforts me by His blessed death, as well. 
So come, dear Death; come, with thy kind embrace. 

And it is time, O Death, do not delay; 
It was high time after thy cruel power 
Had made Madonna from the world ascend. 

We'd walked together all along the way; 
Together did we come to the utmost hour; 
And where she halted is my journey's end. 



I Gaze upon Her Light Crisp-Curling Hair 

lo guardo i cresfi e li hiondi cafelli 

I gaze upon her light crisp-cuiling hair 
Whereof Love weaves a net entangling me 
And sometimes to ensnare more cunningly 
Baits it with strings of pearls or a vivid flower. 
I gaze into her eyes, at once aware 
How they through mine make entrance piercingly 
And strike my heart with such sharp energy 
That it might seem a sun's immediate power. 
Their influence, more ascendant hour by hour, 
Enthralls me; and my soul, subjected, sighs 

270 Italy 

Within itself, and speaks in an undertone, 

"Oh, would I were alone 

With her, alone, that I might make her eyes 

Two mirrors to my own — usurping too 

Her lovely hair, undo 

Its beauty wave by wave, and so hold fast 

In love's employment radiance unsurpassed." 

And then I gaze upon her ardent mouth, 

Her broad forehead, her deep expressive eyes, 

White teeth, straight nose, brown eyebrows' traceries 

Outvieing strokes of art. Soliloquy 

Resumes, and thus again my amorous drouth 

Finds words, "Consider her lips and realize 

The joy of besieging and taking that scarlet prize 

Wherein all nectar and spices seem to be. 

And hear her speak, how well, how charmingly, 

Soft-toned, with gentle courtesy. Confess 

How well divided, well ordered, her words unfold. 

Now see her laugh — behold 

How she receives and gives delightfulness!" 

Thus dwelling upon her mouth, my revery 

Says irresistibly 

That all I could possess would be well spent 

If those lips might say yes with full assent. 

And then I gaze upon her slender throat 

That sweetly rises from her shoulders and breast, 

Her chin,. small, round, and dimpled; east or west 

None yields to favored eyes such sheer delight. 

My thought, allured by all these may denote, 

Continues, saying, "Consider the perfect zest 

Of holding that neck and shoulders tightly pressed, 

Of making a tiny mark on a throat so white." 

Thus thought, emboldened further, says, "Invite 

Your fancy. If what you see can so excel 

In beauty, how rich must be what hidden lies, 

For men put Paradise 

Beyond the visible sun and stars and tell 

azio degli Uberti 271 

How it eclipses splendors seen in the skies. 
Look long, and let your eyes 
Imagine beauty exceeding all they know, 
That lies beyond where their keen glances go." 

And then I gaze at shapely arms, a pair 

Of soft hands intertwining, comely, neat, 

Their slender tapering fingers made complete 

By one bright ring that borrows beauty of them. 

My thought now urges me, "What if you were 

Even now in those arms where all delights would meet 

In concentration, confluence so sweet 

That I could find no words for such a theme! 

See how all members of her body seem 

Rounded and full, as is most fitting for her, 

And touched with delicate tints of pearl-like hue. 

Her captives, gladly we view 

Her bearing, though she can frown if boldness err; 

But she is mild and modestly discreet, 

In virtuousness replete, 

In all her ways so high in excellence 

And grace that she commands all reverence." 

She walks with soft step as the peacock treads, 

Her figure erect and straight as the elegant crane; 

All that to womanly charm may appertain 

Is hers by incontestable birthright. 

"If you would see," thought counsels, "how she sheds 

Lustre about her, go survey the train 

Of ladies lovely and gay; the loveliest wane 

When she approaches, as the stars less bright 

Pale at the first effulgence of sunlight. 

Thus does she vanquish all among the throngs 

Of rival ladies who each other excel. 

Judge then, acknowledge well 

Her rarity when even to love belongs 

No more than the beauty and goodness found in her. 

Whatever to her is dear 

272 Italy 

Is seemly, decorous, always worthy one 

Who puts her hope in fair deeds meetly done." 

Declare it all with confidence, my song, — 

That since the dawn of womankind's first days 

Not one has known such praise — 

Or favor comparable; she draws 

The world's stintless applause 

For inward and outward beauty. Such her estate, 

She may, I fear, be somewhat uncompassionate. 



An Amorous Thorn 
Inamorato Pruno 

Never in all my days 

Did I behold, as yesterday to my amaze, 

An amorous thorn. Upon an emerald green 

Beneath a prickly press 

Of boughs reclined a gleaming girl; 

And when a spiny branch with threatening mien 

Snatched at a golden tress, 

She would reclaim the curl 

With flashing hand of pearl, 

Emboldening the bough upon its thievish ways. 

Never have I beheld such amorous strife 

As then when all set free 

Her tresses shone, and wild 

Her eyes blazed fire. Never, upon my life, 

Did my heart strive with glee 

As outwardly I smiled 

And whispered, self-beguiled, 

Who would have thought a thorn could merit praise? 


ranco Sacchetti 273 

O Lovely Mountain Shepherd Lasses 
O vaghe montanine fasturelle 

lovely mountain shepherd lasses, 

Whence do you come, whose beauty all surpasses? 
What country bears such fruit beyond all others, 
What far-off joyful lands, what happy races? 
Children of Love you seem, nor men your brothers, 
So well your gracious presence daylight graces. 
Nor gold nor silver gleams against your faces, 
And yet you walk as if an angel passes. 

High up upon the mountain is our place, 

A little cabin on the mountainside, 

And thither to our parents we retrace 

Over the slopes our steps at eventide, 

Over the flowered meadows which provide 

Our nourishment, and for the flocks the grasses. 

Then doubtless must your beauty suffer greatly 
If only fields and mountains look upon her, 
For there exists no steepled town nor stately 
City which your presence would not honor — 
Oh, tell me, are you happy in this manner, 
Ragged, roaming in the mountain passes? 

Far happier are we living as we do, 
Following our flocks upon the open downs, 
Than you and yours can ever be when you 
Sit at your banquets in the well-walled towns. 
We want no riches, gems, nor costly gowns — 
Content to live and sing where green the grass is. 

Ballad, if I could live my life once more, 

A mountain shepherd I should choose to be — 

No spoken word would pass my lips before 

1 too was of their joyous company, 
Calling now Martin, now Blondel to me, 
Following ever the lovely shepherd lasses. 




The dominant influence which may be traced in the lyric of i 
medieval Italy is that of the wandering Provencal troubadours 
who first appeared in Italy toward the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury. Their influence was so great that initially imitation of I 
their poetry went beyond matters of form and technique; even 
their language was borrowed, and native poets like Rambertino 
Buvalelli, Lanfranco Cigala, Sordello, and Brunetto Latini ac- 
tually wrote in the idiom of Provence. Among the first to adapt 
the Provencal lyric to the volgare locale were the poets of the 
Sicilian (or Frederician) school — Pier delle Vigne, Giacomo 
da Lentino, Cielo D'Alcamo, Enzo Re, and others — who, com- 1 
ing from many parts of Italy, found a congenial home at the 
learned, cosmopolitan court of the Emperor Frederick II (d. I 
1250). The work of this group furnished the model for the t 
poets of the various Tuscan schools — Guittone d'Arezzo, Bona- 
giunta Orbicciani and a host of others — who, like their prede- 
cessors, remained essentially "provencalizers," faithful to the 
amatory aspirations, the motifs, and the rigorous technique of I 
the troubadours. 

Despite its popularity and technical excellence, the work of I 
the Provencal poets and their imitators were not entirely suited 
to the modified feudal conditions of Italian society. Inevitably 
there was a reaction in taste, ushered in by the poets of the 
so-called dolce stil novo, who, without abandoning the themes 
and forms of their predecessors (chiefly the sonnet, canzone, 
and ballata'), sought for greater delicacy of expression, greater 1 
transparency, and fresher diction. The father of this group of ■ 
poets, so Dante tells us, was Guido Guinizelli, whose canzone 
Al cor gentil introduces the idea of the lady-angel, the lady 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 2,75 

whose presence bestows beatitude, dispels ill thoughts, and in- 
spires her lover to desire spiritual perfection. In her fullest 
manifestation (i.e., Dante's Beatrice) the lady becomes, so to 
speak, the vehicle of divine illumination and grace. The poets 
who adopted and developed Guinizelli's innovations were not 
numerous. Guido Cavalcanti, Cino da Pistoia, and, of course, 
Dante were the only ones to leave a substantial body of poetry. 
But their influence was far-reaching. It is prominent in the 
sonnets of Petrarch, who perhaps more than any other single 
poet helped to determine the shape the Renaissance lyric was 
to take in nearly every country of Europe. 

Standing largely apart from the tradition of the "provencal- 
izers" and the stilnovists were the so-called bourgeois poets — 
Cecco Angiolieri, Fazio degli Uberti, Folgore da San Gimig- 
nano — comparatively unpolished and unlearned, whose chief 
merit lies in their vigorous, earthy realism. — daniel j. donno 

bonagiunta orbicci ani (c. 1220-1300), also known 
as Bonagiunta da Lucca, a Tuscan poet, followed in the tracks 
of Guittone d'Arezzo (q.v.) and the Provencal poets, opposing 
the upsurge of the dolce stil novo poets, especially Guinizelli 
(q.v.), for their obscurity. In Purgatorio, Dante depicted him as 
the best representative of the pre-doZce stil novo period. 

cecco angiolieri (c. 1250-1319) was born in Siena 
to wealthy parents who later tried to curb his bohemian ten- 
dencies, but failed. He fell in love with his shoemaker's daugh- 
ter and dedicated to her many sonnets (he wrote only sonnets), 
fought her and other wenches so ferociously that his anger 
verges on the farcical. He wrote disrespectful sonnets to Dante, 
whom he probably met at the battle of Campaldino (1289). In 
the Decameron (IX, 4) Boccaccio reveals how once a merry- 
maker stole Cecco's clothes. Cecco's hectic life, with all his 
quarrels and roguery, with his biting satires and witty perversity 
(cf. the sonnet included here against his parents, "If I were 
fire"), reminds one of his French superiors: Rutebeuf (q.v.) 
and Villon (q.v.). 

276 Italy 

cielo d'alcamo (fl. 1 231), probably wrote in the court 
(1220- 1 250) of Frederick II, Emperor of Sicily, and therefore 
is grouped with the Sicilian School, writers concerned primarily 
with love poetry. He adapted the Provencal debates (tenzone) 
into the memorable contrasto, or dialogue, included here. 

cino da .pi st 01 a (c. 1270-1336), born in Pistoia, studied 
law in Bologna and other universities, and after the Guelph 
victory lived in exile, teaching in various law schools. With 
his canzoni and sonnets to a lady (probably Selvaggia Vergio- 
lesi) he won honors from Henry VII of Luxemburg and praises 
from Dante, who calls him the Poet of Love and assigns him a 
lofty place in Paradiso (XXX, 136-138). Indeed, Cino rejected 
most of the artificial elements in the Provencal poets and put 
greater warmth and psychological depth into his lyrics, clearing 
the way for Petrarch. 

dante alighieri (1265-1321), the Florentine author 
of the Divine Comedy is Italy's greatest literary genius, whose 
canzoni and sonnets are perhaps not as well known among 
readers of English as they deserve to be. The Sestinas here 
included, also called "stony poems/' were written to a lady 
named Pietra (stone) and rank with his sonnets and canzoni 
among the most magnificent lyrical utterances in the Italian 

enzo re (c. 1 220- 1 272), the illegitimate child of Frederick 
II, rivaled his father in courage and leadership. In 1239 he 
conquered the island of Sardinia, of which he was made king. 
After years of warfare, he was captured near Modena, at the 
battle of Fossalta (1249) and brought to Bologna. During his 
long years of inprisonment he came to know the literary figures 
of his day, who stimulated him to write. 

Fazio [bonifazio] degli uberti (c. 1310- 
1370), born probably in Pisa of an illustrious Florentine family, 
lived in many Italian courts while an exile. A militant Ghibel- 
line, he wrote political verse, the allegorical treatise Dittamondo 
(in terza rim a) — whose only saving grace is its historical and 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 277 

biographical wealth — and sundry love lyrics, remarkably grace- 

FOLGORE DA SAN GIMIGNANo(c. I250-I317), whose 

real name was Giacomo di Michele, was born in Siena. After 
1305, drawing a pension for military services rendered, he 
lived in San Gemignano a splendid (hence, folgore) life of 
leisure. In a sonnet sequence reminiscent of the Provencal 
plazers, he presents the pleasures of the months of the year — 
thus mirroring the daily life and occupations of the Sienese 
nobility. Cenne dalla Chitarra parodied this sequence with 
an enueg, listing all the unpleasant aspects of each month and 
:he gross manners of the peasantry. 

Francis of a ssi si, st. (c. 1180-1226), was born at 
Assisi, where his wealthy father wanted him to follow a com- 
mercial career, but he was more fond of amusements. However, 
ifter his miraculous recovery from a dangerous illness, he de- 
moted himself to the care of the poor and the sick, repented his 
iins, became a soldier of Christ and founded the Franciscan 
Order. Two years after his death he was made a saint. His 
Canticle expresses his extraordinarily deep, all-embracing char- 
ity toward all created things. 

siacomo da lentino (c. 1 189-1240), born in Tus- 
cany, studied at the University of Bologna with Pier della 
Vigna and Mostacci, and in 1233 became one of the chief 
notaries of Frederick II (that is why Dante called him the 
Notary in Purgatorio, XXIV, 56). One of the most gifted poets 
of the Sicilian School, he has left us poems in the sonnet form, 
which it is claimed he invented, and canzoni — in all some forty 

guido cavalcanti (c. 1255-1300), born in Florence 
of noble parents, participated with his friend Dante in the 
political strife of the day, and suffered exile, dying of malaria 
in Sarzana. He is mentioned by his father, Cavalcante de' 
Cavalcanti, in a moving scene in the Inferno. With his famous 
song "Donna mi prega" the dolce stil novo reached its apogee, 

278 Italy 

this canzone being one of the purer and most genuine expres- 
sions of these poets' philosophy of love. Dante dedicated his 
Vita Nuova to Cavalcanti. 

guido guinizelli(c. 1225-1276), born in Bologna of 
a distinguished Ghibelline family, became a judge (like his 
father) in 1268. On the victory of the Guelphs he was exiled, 
and died two years later. He is considered the first practitioner 
of the dolce stil novo, and Dante and Cavalcanti referred to him 
as their master. His poem "The Gentle Heart," included here, 
holds an importance far beyond its modest poetic merits. It is 
commonly cited as the source for the concept of the angelic 
lady Qdonna angelicata), which attained its highest expression 
in Dante's Beatrice as presented in the Vita Nuova and the 
Divine Comedy. Modified and attenuated, it also reappeared 
in Petrarch's sonnets and, largely through their influence, be- 
came a commonplace in Renaissance love poetry. 

guittone d'arezzo (c. 1230-1294), born in Santa 
Formena, near Arezzo, joined the Guelphs, and was exiled 
about 1260, entering soon thereafter the Order of Knights of 
Saint Mary, composing from then on only religious poems and 
laudes in ballad form. In addition to these, there are also extant 
many lyrics, epistles in verse and in prose on moral, political, 
and religious subjects. The year after his return to his native 
city he died. He has been held to be one of the most dis- 
tinguished among the Tuscan poets. 

jacopone da todi (1236-1306), born in Todi, in Um- 
bria, of a noble family, studied law and became rich and 
famous. He married a beautiful lady and upon discovering at 
her premature, tragic death that she wore sackcloth under her 
elaborate gowns, he renounced his life of pleasure and became 
a Franciscan monk To him is ascribed the Stab at Mater and 
deeply religious poetry, such as the laudes, included here. 

onesto da b o l o g n a (fl. 1301), was a lawyer — a deed 
drawn by him in 1301 is preserved in the archives of Bologna. 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 2,79 

?etrArch, Francesco (1 304-1 374), one of the world's 
greatest lyric poets, was born at Arezzo, where his Florentine 
rather lived in exile. For years he lived in Avignon and Vau- 
;luse, studied law at Montpellier and Bologna (1323), be- 
ginning there his writing. He met Laura de Sade, a married 
woman, in a church in Avignon, and she may have been the 
Laura he continued to love even after her death (1348). Most 
:he poems included here show his love for Laura while she was 
dive, except for the last eleven, written after her untimely 
leath. "Gluttony, Torpor, Pillowed Slothfulness" was addressed 
:o a friend who devoted himself to the study of literature and 
)hilosophy; 'Weep, Ladies All! Let Love Too Weep with You!" 
vas written at the death of Cino da Pistoia (q.v.). 

unaldo d ' aquino O-1279), probably of the same 
amily as St. Thomas Aquinas, held office as falconer ( 1 240) of 
Frederick II and later joined Charles d'Anjou. Of the twelve 
;ongs ascribed to him, the most beautiful is the one here in- 
Juded, the lament of a girl whose lover has left for a crusade. 
Since the Emperor mentioned is Frederick II, the crusade in 
juestion is either that of 1 228 or 1 240. 

Iacchetti, franco ( i 335-1400), derived from a noble 
jJuelph family. A man of sterling character, he filled many 
mblic offices in Florence and was named ambassador to 
Bologna in 1376. Highly cultured, he wrote verse and some of 
he finest stories of early Italian fiction, the Trecentonovelle, 
vhich, despite his claim that he imitated Boccaccio, show his 
)riginality and satiric qualities. 



Arabic Poets From Andalusia 

BEN SUHAYD (992-1034) Translated by 

The Storm Lysander Kemp 289 

Ben Hazm (994-1063) 
The Visit of the Beloved Lysander Kemp 289 

Abu-L-Hasan Al-Husri (d. 1095) 
In Mourning Lysander Kemp 290 

Ibn Al-Talla (Xlth century) 
The Artichoke William M. Davis 290 

Abu-L-Hasan Ben Al-Qabturnuh (c. 1126) 
In Battle Lysander Kemp 290 

Abu Salt Umayya (1 067-1 134) 
The White Horse Lysander Kemp 291 

Ali Ben Hariq (d. 1225) 
The Oars of the Galley Lysander Kemp 291 

Sahl Ben Malik (i 163-1249) 
The Dawn Lysander Kemp 291 

282 The Iberian Peninsula 

Abu Zakariyya (d. 1249) 
The Spear Lysander Kemp 292 

Ben Said Al-Magribi (121 4-1 274) 
The Battle Lysander Kemp 292 

Qadi Ben Lubbal (d. 1284) 
Night Fiesta on the River Lysander Kemp 292 

Anonymous Mozarabic Jarchas (c. 1040) 

William M. Davis 

So Much Loving, So Much Loving 293 

Tant' amare, tant' amare 
What Shall I Do or What Become of Me? 293 

Que fare yo o que serdd de mihi? 
My Lord Ibrahim 294 

Mio sidi Ibrahim 
Come, Bewitcher! 294 

Ven, ya sahhara! 
If You Truly Want Me 294 

Si queres como bono mub 
Comes Easter, Ah, without Him 295 

Venio la Pasca, ay aun 
No, Little Sweetheart, No 295 

Non, quero, non jillello 
Mother, See My Love! 295 

Mamma, ayy habibi 
Mother, I Shall Not Sleep 295 

Non dormireyo, mamma 
Now Like Another's Child 296 

Como si filiolo alieno 
Mercy, Lover Mine! 296 

Amau, ya habibi 

Hebrew Poets 

William M. Davis 

Solomon Ibn Gabirol (i 001 -1058) 
She Looked at Me and Her Eyelids Burned 297 

Behold the Lovely Maid! 297 

'he Iberian Peninsula 283 


.frah 298 

taps without Wine Are Lowly 298 

lie Earth, like a Girl, Sipped the Rains 298 

>ne Day I Fondled Her on My Knees 3°° 

Galician-Portuguese Poets 
Airas Nunes (c. 1 175-1250) 

he Summertime Delights Me 3°° 

Que muyto m'eu pago deste verao William M. Davis 

et the Three of Us Now Dance, Oh Friends 3 QI 

Baylemos nos ia todas tres, ay amigas Lawrence A. Sharpe 

^hen Truth Disappeared from the World 3 QI 

Porque no mundo menguou a verdade William M. Davis 

Nuno Fernandez de Turneol (fl. 1225) 
jrise, Fond Lover, Who Sleeps on Chilly Mornings 302 

Levad amigo que durmides as maiianas frias William M. Davis 

Alfonso X [King Alfonso the Wise} 
ong VII 303 

Cantiga Vll John E. Keller 

ong XVIII 305 

Cantiga XVU1 John E. Keller 

Pero Meogo [Peter the Monkl (fl. 1250) 
>11 Me, Daughter, Pretty Daughter 308 

Digades, fdla mina, fdla belida William M. Davis 

n the Green Grass 309 

En as verdes ervas William M. Davis 

Ay Friend Is Going, Mother 310 

Tal vai o meu amigo William M. Davis 

Joan Zorro (fl. 1250) 
lair, My Pretty Hair 310 

Cabelos, los meus cabelos William M. Davis 

n Lisbon by the Sea 311 

En Lixboa, sobre lo mar William M. Davis 

284 The Iberian Peninsula 

Along the River Shore 3 1 1 

Per ribeira do rio William M. Davis 

Let's Dance, Let's Dance, Us Pretties 312, 

Bailemos nos xa todas, ay amigas William M. Davis 

Martin Codax (fl. 1250) 
O Waves of the Sea of Vigo 3 1 3 

Ondas do mar de Vigo William M. Davis 

Ah, Waves, I Come to See 313 

Ai ondas que eu vin veer William M. Davis 

Afonso Lopes de Baian (fl. 1 253-1 278) 
They Have Told Me Some News 3 J 4 

Diseron mi hunhas novas Lawrence A. Sharpe 

Roi Fernandez (Xlllth century) 

When I See the Waves 314 

Cand'eu vexo las ondas William M. Davis 

Joan de Guilhade {Xlllth century) 
For Mr. X I've Only Mischief 3 1 5 

A don Foam quer'eu gra mal William M. Davis 

Alas, Ugly Lady, You Complained 3*6 

Ai, dona fea, foste-vos queixar William M. Davis 

Friend, I Can't Deny 317 

Amigo, non poss'eu negar William M. Davis 

Joao Roiz de Castelo-Branco 
( late Xlllth century ) 
Song of Parting 3 X 7 

Cantiga, partindo-se William M. Davis 

King Dinis of Portugal [Dom Dinis] 
O Flowers, O Flowering Green Pine 3 J 8 

Ai flores, ai {lores do verde pio William M. Davis 

A Shepherdess Well Made 319 

Ua pastor ben talhada William M. Davis 

Provencals Right Well May Versify 3 2 ° 

Proengaes soen mui ben trobar William M. Davis 

John Bolo's Acting Grim 3 21 

Joam Bol'and mal desbaratado William M. Davis 

The Iberian Peninsula 285 

Macias O Namorado (fl. 1 360-1 390) 
I Went in Quest of Measure 3 2 i 

Provei de buscar mesura William M. Davis 

Castilian Poets 


Lament of the Virgin 3 2 3 

Duelo de la Virgen Beatrice P. Patt 

Juan Lorenzo (fl. 1250) 

From The Book of Alexander 3 2 5 

Libro de Alexandre William M. Davis 

Anonymous (XHIth century) 
Dispute of Elena and Maria 3 2 7 

Disputa de Elena y Maria William M. Davis 

Juan Ruiz, Archpriest of Hita 
(c. 1283-1350) 
From The Book, of True hove [Libro de Buen Amor] 

Encounter of the Archpriest with Ferrand Garcia 3 2 8 

De lo que acontescio al Arcipreste con Ferrand Garcia 

Edwin Honig 

Don Pitas Payas 3 2 9 

Don Pitas Payas William M. Davis 

Hill Song [Near Tablada] 331 

Cantica de serrana [Cerca la Tablada] William M. Davis 
Easter Day 334 

De como clerigos e legos e flayres e monjas 

e duenas e joglares salieron a recebir a don Amor 

James Edward Tobin 

Of the Characteristics of Small Women 334 

De las propiedades que les duenas chicas ban 

William M. Davis 

Sem Tob (c. 1290-1369) 
From Moral Proverbs 

Some I've Seen So Crudely 336 

Unos vi con locura Norman T. Di Giovanni 

There's No Day without Night 336 

Non ay syn noche dia Norman T. Di Giovanni 

There's No Finer Treasure 337 

Non ay buen thesoro Norman T. Di Giovanni 

286 The Iberian Peninsula 

Whether Long or Sparing 337 

Quier larga, quiet escasa William M. Davis 

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (c. 1364-1404) 
That Tree, with Its Leaves Atremble 337 

A aquel drbol que tnueve la foxa Kate Flores 

Ferran Sanchez Calavera (d. 1450) 
By God, My Lords, Let us Lift the Veil 338 

Pot Dios, senores, quitemos et velo William M. Davis 

Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, 
marques de santillana (1398-i458) 
Far from You and Close to Care 34 l 

Lejos de vos y cerca de cuidado Frances Fletcher 

Mountain Song of Finojosa 342. 

Serranilla de la Finojosa Martin Nozick 


Mourning of the Mother of Lorenzo Davalos 343 

Duelo de la madre de Lorenzo Davalos William M. Davis 

Jorge Manrique (c. 1440-1478) 
Stanzas on the Death of His Father 344 

Coplas por la muerte de su padre Edwin Morgan 

Anonymous (1464) 
The Barbs of Mingo Revulgo 35* 

Las coplas de Mingo Revulgo William M. Davis 

Anonymous Traditional Songs 

[El Cancionero] (c. Xlth-XVth century) 

If You Go to Bathe, Juanica 357 

Si te vas a banar Juanica James Duffy 

Those Mountains, Mother 357 

Aquellas sierras, madre James Duffy 

I Refuse to Be a Nun 357 

No quiero ser monja, no James Duffy 

I Will Not Pick Verbena 358 

Que no cogere verbena James Duffy 

Do Not Speak to Me, Count 358 

No me hableis, conde James Duffy 

The Iberian Peninsula 

Hill Song of La Zarzuela 

Serranilla de La Zarzuela 
Gentle Knight/ Now Give Me a Kiss 

Gentil caballero/ dedesme hora un beso 
To Whom Shall I Tell My Sorrows? 

I A quien contare mis quejas? 

I Grew Up in a Village 

Crieme en aldea 
Out of Love 

Por amores lo maldijo 

William M. Davis 

William M. Davis 

William M. Davis 

William M. Davis 

William M. Davis 




Anonymous (c. Xlth-XVth 

century ) 

The Romancero or Book of Ballads [El Romancero] 

Ballad of Juliana 



Edwin Honig 

Count Arnaldos 


El Conde Arnaldos 

William M. Davis 

Ballad of the Fair Melisenda 


La linda Melisenda 

Edwin Honig 

The Prisoner 


El prisionero 

Kate Flores 

Ballad of the Cool Fountain 


Fonte Frida 

Edwin Honig 




William M. Davis 




Lysander Kemp 

Moriana's Poison 


El veneno de Moriana 

William M. Davis 

The Mistress of Bernal Frances 


La amiga de Bernal Frances 

William M. Davis 

Catalan Poets 

Ramon Llull (c. 1233-1315) 
To You, Lady Virgin Santa Maria 

A vos, Dona Verge Santa Maria 
When the Star Appears at Daybreak 

Quan par Vestela en Valbor 

William M. Davis 



2,88 The Iberian Peninsula 

Anonymous (XIV th century) 
Alas! If I Had Married 374 

Lassa! Mais m'agra valgut/que fos maridada 

Pere March (c. 1338-1413) 
The Widow Wearing White or Saffron 375 

Viuda que port color branch ne saffra 
Ladies I Like Well Dressed 375 

Dompna'm platz ben arreada 

Ausias March (i 397-1 459) 
The Time Is Such That Each Brute Beast 376 

Lo temps es tal que tot animal brut 
Where Is the Place My Thought May Find Repose? 377 

On es lo Hoc on ma pensa repose? 

Below the Brow I Bear Your Lovely Countenance 379 

Sus lo front port vostra bella semblanga 
Vexation, Enemy of Youth 381 

Enuig, enemich de jovent 
I Have No Liking for One Who in All Things Is Not 385 

No m'asalt d'om qu'en tots afars no sia 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 386 


Arabic Poets From Andalusia 


The Storm 

The flowers lift their open mouths in the dark, 
seeking the bountiful udders of the rain, 

and the black clouds parade in grand battalions, 
armed with golden sabers of the lightning. 



The Visit of the Beloved 

When you came to me, it was a little before 

the Christians rang their bells, 
when the half moon was climbing up the sky. 

It was like the raised eyebrow of an old man, 

each hair of it white, 
or like the delicate arch of your white foot. 

The dawn had still not risen, yet the great 

bow of the Lord 
shone against the horizon at your coming, 

radiant with every color 

like the peacock's tail. 


290 The Iberian Peninsula 


In Mourning 

White is the color worn for mourning 
in Andalusia, and that is just. 

Why do I wear the grief-stricken 

white of these white hairs? 

Because I am in mourning for my youth. 



The Artichoke 

Daughter of earth and water, her bounty 
Is offered to him who awaits her 
Locked in a castle of greed. 

By her whiteness, and the fastness of her refuge, 
She seems like a Greek virgin 
Concealed in a veil of spears. 



In Battle 

I remembered Sulayma when the passion 

of battle was as fierce 
as the passion of my body when we parted. 

Arabic Poets from Andalusia 291 

I thought I saw, among the lances, the tall 

perfection of her body, 
and when they bent toward me I embraced them. 



The White Horse 

It was as white as the morning star at dawn, 

and it marched proudly, bearing its golden saddle. 

A man who envied me asked, when he saw it 
prancing behind me to the combat: 

'Who has bridled the daybreak with the Pleiades, 
and saddled the lightning with the half moon?" 



The Oars of the Galley 

It seems there are only reptiles in the hold, 
which entered in Noah's day to escape the Flood. 

They think the waters are rising again, and each 
serpent, alarmed, flickers its tongue at an opening. 



The Dawn 

When the first light came and I saw her brush 
the dew from her smooth brow, I said to my love, 

292 The Iberian Peninsula 

"I fear the sun has discovered our secret." 

She answered, "Please God that my brother has not!" 



The Spear 

It was dark till the dust of battle covered 

its head with white hair: 
old age has always followed after youth. 

When I thrust it toward the enemy, it seemed 

the rope with which I drew 
blood from the deep well of a hero's heart. 



The Battle 

Dear God, the standards of the knights 
hovered like birds round your enemies! 

The spears punctuated what the swords wrote; 
the dust of battle was the sand that dried 
the writing; and the blood perfumed it. 



Night Fiesta on the River 

By day the river's throat was bare of adornments, 
but later, in the night, it gleamed with jewels. 

Mozarabic Jarchas 293 

The lantern-lights outshone the stars; their bright 
reflections were like spears lost in the water. 

When the ships loomed on the spread wings of their sails, 
the rowboats fled on the long legs of their oars, 

escaping as the hare escapes the falcon. 


Anonymous Mozarabic Jarchas 

So Much Loving, So Much Loving 
Tant' amare, taut' amare 

So much loving, so much loving 
Darling, so much loving 
Made gay eyes grow dim 
With so much longing! 



What Shall I Do or What Become of Me? 
Que fare yo o que serdd de mibi? 

What shall I do or what become of me? 


Don't abandon me! 



294 The Iberian Peninsula 

My Lord Ibrahim 

Mio sidi Ibrahim 

My lord Ibrahim, 

Oh dulcet name, 

Come to me 
By night. 
If not, if you will not, 

Then I shall come to you. 
Tell me where 
To find you. 


Come, Bewitcher! 

Ven, ya sahharal 

Come, bewitcher! 
Morning, fair with vigor 
Rising, seeks your love. 



If You Truly Want Me j 

Si queres como bono mub 

If you truly want me, 
Kiss this string of pearls: 
This little mouth of cherries. 



Mozarabic Jarchas 295 

Comes Easter, Ah, without Him 

Venio la Pasca, ay aun 

Comes Easter, ah, without him, 
My heart is wounded for him. 



No, Little Sweetheart, No 
Non, qtiero, non jillello 

No, little sweetheart, no, 
I only want the dark one. 



Mother, See My Love! 
Mamma, ayy habibi 

Mother, see my love! 
Under his golden ringlets 
His neck so white, 
His little mouth of crimson. 



Mother, I Shall Not Sleep 
Non dormireyo, mamma 

Mother, I shall not sleep 
Wb*m morning rises 

296 The Iberian Peninsula 

But dream of Abu-1-Qasim, 
His features dawning. 



Now Like Another's Child 
Como si filiolo alieno 

Now like another's child, 
My breast is not your pillow. 


Mercy, Lover Mine! 
Amau, ya habibi 

Mercv, lover mine! 
Leave me not alone. 
Beauty, kiss my lips: 
I know you will not go. 


Hebrew Poets 


She Looked at Me and Her Eyelids Burned 

She looked at me and her eyelids burned, 
While her goblet brimmed with tears; 

Solomon Ibn Gabirol 297 

The words overflowed her mouth, like strings of pearls, 
And the smile on her lips defied compare with gold'. 
But the rebuke she sent my soul 
Wounded me like the words of the creditor 

to the poor debtor. 
Meanwhile, the cup passed from hand to hand 

like the sun amid the heavens, 
And day receded, fleeting, like waves along the shore, 
But my blood, receding at unison of day, 
Tinged my cheeks bright red: she will not return. 


Behold the Lovely Maid! 


Behold the lovely maid! The bracelets 

On her arms gleam like the tiles of Ahasuerus 

Her walk is comely, with sprightly step 

And the sound of them 

Is as the tinkling of her jewels. 

The moon would be her diadem 

And the Pleiades her bangles. 

While the sun, at its height, turns pale, 

And, shamefaced, hides behind her veils. 

Her lover beholds her with loving looks 

For until the dawn, he has kept his vigil. 

But she counts your hopes; be aware 

That in her eyes your vigils are as gifts. 

Surely her curving breasts are ripe for love, 

For the folds of her tunic cannot conceal them.- 

the poet: 

Seek not to incite your lover's heart 
For now in him the fires of love are quenched;. 
The burning embers quickly turned to ashes. 
And the sun of his love grew dark. 

298 The Iberian Peninsula 

They told me, "Go and serve the world!" 

But one who is its master cannot become its servant. 




Afrah laves her garments in the waters 
Of my tears, and spreads them 

In the sunshine of her glow. 
She begs no water of the fountains, 

Having my two eyes; 
Nor any sunshine but her beauty. 



Cups without Wine Are Lowly 

Cups without wine are lowly 
As a pot thrown on the ground 
But, full of juice, they shine 
Like the body with a soul. 



The Earth, like a Girl, Sipped the Rains 

The earth, like a girl, sipped the rains 

Of winter past, and those the ministering cloud 

Or perhaps, like a secluded bride in winter, 
Whose soul longs for the coming of love's time 
She waited, and sought the season ripe for love 
Till summer came, and calmed her anxious heart 

Judah Halevi 299 

Wearing golden tunics and white embroidered flax. 
Like a girl who delights in heT finery and raiment, 
Every day she renews the grace of her embroiderers 
And provides all her neighbors with new garments. 
Every day she changes the colors of her fields 
Now with strings of pearls, now with emeralds or rubies, 
Offering her meadows now white or green or gold 
Or blushing like the sweetheart kissing her beloved. 
Her trellises display such gorgeous flowers 
It seems as if she stole the stars from heaven. 
Here is paradise, whose sheltered buds are clustered 
Among the vines, kindled with blushes that incite to love. 
The grapes are cold as snow in the hand of him 

who plucks them. 
But in his entrails, they burn as hot as fire. 
From the whirling cask, the wine, like sun, is rising. 
And we shall bring our onyx cups to pour it. 
In the love of wine we shall stroll beneath the bowers 
Around the garden, and smile with tears of rain, 
Bright with shining drops spilled by the clouds 
That scatter round like strings of pearls. 
She finds joy in the song of the swallow, 

and in the song of the vintagers, 
And in cooing pigeons tamed by love. 
She twitters in the branches, as the maiden sings 
Behind her zither, swaying as she dances. 
My soul is attentive to the breeze of dawn, 
For it fondles the breath of my beloved. 
A wanton breeze it is, that steals the scent of myrtles 
To waft it off to lovers apart. 
The heads of the myrtle rise and nod in turn 
While the tremulous fronds of the palm tree 
Seem to applaud the singing of the birds. 



300 The Iberian Peninsula 

One Day I Fondled Her on My Knees 


One day I fondled her on my knees, 
And she saw her image reflected in my pupils; 
And then, sporting, she kissed my eyes, 
Yet kissed not them, but her image. 


Galician-Portuguese Poets 


The Summertime Delights Me 
Que muyto meu fago deste verdo 

The summertime delights me 
With branches, buds, and flowers, 
With birds that twitter lovesongs 
And carefree, happy hours. 
Then, like every lover 
Fm joyful and content 

I stroll along the river 
By trees, and through the glen. 
When lovebirds sing their lovesongs 
I sing of love a while 
And follow them, inventing 
A thousand tunes a mile. 

I'm full of joy and happiness 
To hear their summer smile. 


Airas Nunes 3 Q1 

Let the Three of Us Now Dance, Oh Friends 

Baylemos nos ia todas tres, ay amigas 

Let the three of us now dance, oh friends, 

beneath these flowering hazel trees, 

and whoever is beautiful, as we are beautiful, 

if she loves a lover, 

under these flowering hazel trees 

she will come to dance. 

Let all three of us, oh sisters, 

under this branch of these hazels, 

and whoever is pretty, as we are pretty, 

if she love a lover, 

under this branch of these hazels 

she will come to dance. 

For God's sake, oh friends, while we are idle, 
under this flowering branch let us dance, 
and whoever is comely, as we are comely, 
if she love a lover, 

under this lonely branch where we dance 
she will come to dance. 


When Truth Disappeared from the World 
Porque no mundo menguou a verdade 

When truth disappeared from the world 

I ventured to inquire 

Where she might have gone. 

All said, "Seek her elsewhere, 

For she has strayed so far 

No news of her can come, 

Nor is she at the friars'." 

302 The Iberian Peninsula 

At the cloister of the friars, 

This is what I heard: 

"Don't seek truth among us, 

She doesn't live here now : 

We don't know where she's moved to, 

For much concerns us more." 

In Cistel, where truth once dwelt, 
They said she dwelt no more, 
Nor had she now, for years. 
No friar or abbot knew her, 
And one quite simply said: 
"I hope she doesn't come here; 
She lives uncloistered now." 

At Saint James of Compostela 

The pilgrims at my inn 

Said, "By God, you've strayed afar 

But truth is not this way. 

Go try another road 

She's left no message here." 



Arise, Fond Lover, Who Sleeps on Chilly Mornings 

Levad amigo que durmides as mananas frias 

Arise, fond lover, who sleeps on chilly mornings, 
All the birds are chirping lovesongs, 
Merrily I go! 

Arise, fond lover, who sleeps on mornings chill, 
All the birds are singing lovesongs, 
Merrily I go! 

Alfonso X 303 

All the birds are chirping lovesongs 
To lie about your love and mine. 
Merrily I go! 

All the birds are singing lovesongs 
To lie about your love and mine. 
Merrily I go! 

To lie about your love and mine 
And so you cut their branches fine, 
Merrily I go! 

To lie about your love and mine 
And so you cut their perches fine, 
Merrily I go! 

And so you cut their branches fine 
And dried the springs they drank in. 
Merrily I go! 

And so you cut their perches fine 
And dried the springs they bathed in, 
Merrily I go! 


ALFONSO X [King Alfonso the Wisel 

Song VII 
Cantiga Vll 

This is how Saint Mary saved the pregnant abbess, who 
weeping had fallen asleep before her altar. 

We should love Saint Mary 
much, and we should beseech 
her to cast her grace o'er us, 
so that the shameless 
fiend will not make us sin. 

304 The Iberian Peninsula 

Therefore I shall tell you 

a miracle which I found 

that she, Mother of the Great King, 

performed for an abbess, 

for, according as I have learned, 

she was her devotee. 

But the devil beguiled her 

so that she became pregnant 

by a man from Bologna, 

a man who took great care 

to conceal his deed and her need. 

We should love Saint Mary . . . 

The nuns, when they found out 
and had sure knowledge of it, 
were highly delighted; 
For because she had never 
wished to let them sin, 
they held her in malice. 
And they went to accuse her 
to the bishop of the place, 
and the good man arrived there 
from Cologne, and when he had 
called, she came without delay, 
happy and smiling. 
We should love Saint Mary . . . 

The bishop addressed her so : 
"Madam, according as I hear 
Wickedly indeed have you acted; 
and therefore I have come here, 
so that now before me, you 
may make amends for it." 
But the lady without delay 
began to call the Mother of God; 
and, as from one who was dreaming, 
Saint Mary had the child taken 
and sent for rearing to Saxony. 
We should love Saint Mary . . . 

Alfonso X 305 

When the lady awakened 
and found herself delivered, 
quickly she came to the bishop; 
and carefully he examined her 
and ordered her disrobed; 
and as soon as he saw her body, 
he began to praise God 
and to curse the nuns, who were 
of the Order of Onna, saying: 
, ; .: "As God helps me, I can declare 

This one saved from all accusation/' 
We should love Saint Mary . . . 



Cantiga XVIII 

This is how Saint Mary caused the silkworms to make the 
silk for two head veils, because the woman who kept them, had 
promised one and had not given it to her. 

In order to remove us 
from doubt it pleases 
Saint Mary to show us 
her beautiful miracles daily. 

And so that we might see 

her loveliness 
she performed a great miracle 

in Extremadura, 
in Segovia, where dwelt 
a lady of hers, 
who in her house 
produced much silk. 
In order to remove us . . . 

Because she was losing her silkworms 
and had little silk, 

306 The Iberian Peninsula 

she therefore promised 

to give a veil, 
so as to honor the image 
that stood above the altar 
of the Virgin without par, 
in whom she greatly trusted. 
In order to remove us . . . 

Because she had made the vow, 

the silkworms always 
increased from that time 

and did not perish; 
but the lady in the great leisure 
that she enjoyed there 
ever forgot to give 
the silken veil 
In order to remove us . . . 

Hence it befell her 

that in a great festival 
in August that she came there, 

during the height of siesta, 
to pray before the image; 
and as she lay there 
at prayer she remembered 
the veil which she had vowed. 
In order to remove us . . . 

With heartfelt weeping 

she went running home 
and beheld then 

that the silkworms were 
weaving and working 
earnestly at the veil, 
and she began to weep 
with the greatest of joy 
In order to remove us . . . 

And as she wept thus, 

She pondered about 

Alfonso X 307 

the veil and therefore called 

a great many people in 
so that they might see 
how the Mother of God 
knew how to labor 
with holy skill. 
In order to remove us . . . 

The people, with great joy, 

when they beheld this, 
giving praise to the Mother 

of God, went forth 
to proclaim it in the streets, 
saying: "Come, come 
to behold the great miracle 
that she who guides us wrought!" 
In order to remove us . . . 

One by one, and two by two 

Swiftly they came there; 
meanwhile the silkworms 

fashioned another 
veil to make it just that 
if anyone should desire 
to carry one away, 
he should leave the other 
In order to remove us . . . 

Therefore Don Alfonso, the King 

in his own chapel 
keeps, according as I hear, 

the most beautiful veil, 
and that he has it brought out 
in festivals to uproot heresy 
from those who doubting the Virgin 
go in their great folly. 
In order to remove us . . . 


308 The Iberian Peninsula 

PERO MEOGO [Peter the Monk] 

Tell Me, Daughter, Pretty Daughter 

Digades, filla mina, filla belida 

Tell me, daughter, pretty daughter, 
Why did you tarry by the spring? 
"Mother, I'm in love!" 

Tell me, daughter, lovely daughter, 
Why did you tarry by the stream? 
"Mother, I'm in love!" 

Mother, I tarried by the spring 
To see the stags at dawn; 

"Mother, I'm in love!" 

Mother, I tarried by the stream, 
To see them drink at dawn; 
"Mother, I'm in love!" 

You're lying, daughter, you lie for a friend, 
I never saw stags at the spring; 
"Mother, I'm in love!" 

You're lying, daughter, you lie for some boy 
I never saw stags at the stream; 
"Mother, I'm in love!" 


Pero Meogo 309 

In the Green Grass 

En as verdes ervas 

In the green grass 
I saw the prancing does 
My lover. 

In the green lea 

I saw the angry stags i 

My lover. . '; 

And with the scent of does i 

I sat and washed my braids 
My lover. 

And with the scent of stags I 

I sat and washed my hair 
My lover. 

As soon as it was washed 
I bound it up in gold 
My lover. 

I bound it up in gold 

And waited for you there, Vi 

Mv lover. 

In gold I bound it up 
And waited for you there 
My lover. 



310 The Iberian Peninsula 

My Friend Is Going, Mother 
Tal vat o men amigo 

My friend is going, mother, 
With love I gave, and he 
Goes wounded like a hart 
From huntsmen of the king. 

My lover's going, mother, 
My love he takes, and he 
Goes wounded like the stag 
The huntsman shot for me. 

And if my love goes wounded 
He'll go to die at sea; 
My friend will board a ship 
And drown himself at sea. 

Watch yourself, my daughter, 
For such I'll never see; 
He makes himself look woeful 
To win his cause with me. 

And watch yourself, my daughter, 
For such I'll never see; 
He makes himself look woeful 
" * To win his way with me. 



Hair, My Pretty Hair 
Cabelos, los mens cabelos 

Hair, my pretty hair, 
The king sent for it to me: 

Joan Zorro 311 

Mother, what shall I do? 
Daughter, give it to the king! 

Tresses, my pretty tresses, 
The king sent for them to me: 
Mother, what shall I do? 
Daughter, give them to the king! 


In Lisbon by the Sea 
En Lixboa, sobre lo mar 

In Lisbon by the sea 
New ships I ordered built 
Alas, my pretty lady! 

In Lisbon by the shore 
New ships I ordered made 
Alas, my pretty lady! 

New ships I ordered built 
And ordered them to sea 

Alas, my pretty lady! 

New ships I ordered made 
And ordered them away 

Alas, my pretty lady! 



Along the River Shore 
Per ribeira do rio 

Along the river shore 
I saw them tip the oar 
And loved the river more! 

312 The Iberian Peninsula 

Upstream along the shore 
I saw them speed the oar 
And loved the river more! 

I saw them tip the oar 
To reach my friend afar 
And loved the river more! 

I saw them speed the oar 
To reach my love afar 
And loved the river more! 

To reach my friend afar: 
I longed for him, ashore, 
And loved the river more! 

To reach my love afar: 
I yearned for him, ashore, 
And loved the river more! 


Let's Dance, Let's Dance, Us Pretties 

Bailemos nos xa todas, ay amigas 

Let's dance, let's dance, us pretties, 
Under the blossoming trees 
And the prettiest pretty her love will prance 
Under the nut trees, and see him dance. ,- 

Let's dance, let's dance, us lovelies, 
Under the crimsoning trees, 
And the loveliest lovely her friend will prance 
Under the nut trees, and see him dance. 


Martin Codax 313 


O Waves of the Sea of Vigo 
Ondas do mar de Vigo 

O waves of the sea of Vigo, 
Have you seen my friend? 
Ah Lord, let him come soon! 

O waves of the rolling sea, 
Have you seen my love? 
Ah Lord, let him come soon! 

If you've seen my friend, 

The one I sigh for, 

Ah Lord, let him come soon! 

If you've seen my love, 

The one I burn for, 

Ah Lord, let him come soon! 


Ah, Waves, I Come to See 
Ai ondas que en vin veer 

Ah, waves, I come to see 
If you could only say 
Why my love delays 
without me! 

Ah, waves, I come to say 
If you could only see 

314 The Iberian Peninsula 

Why my love delays 
without me! 



They Have Told Me Some News 
Diseron mi hunhas novas 

They have told me some news that I am glad to hear: 

my lover has arrived, and if he comes there, 

to the shrine of Santa Maria das Leiras 

I shall go, in my beauty, if my lover comes there. 

They have told me some news which gives me great joy, 

my lover has arrived, and if he goes there, 

to the shrine of Santa Maria das Leiras 

I shall go, in my beauty, if my lover comes there. 

They have told me some news which greatly pleases me, 

my lover has arrived, but I, in order to see him, 

to the shrine of Santa Maria das Leiras 

shall go, in my beauty, if my lover comes there. 

Never was a woman so happy with such news, 
as I alone am with this, and if he comes there, 
to the shrine of Santa Maria das Leiras 
I shall go, in my beauty, if my lover comes there. 



When I See the Waves 
Cand'eu vexo las ondas 

When I see the waves 
And rocky shores 

Joan de Guilhade 315 

My heart sends waves 
To her ashore : 

Curst be the sea 

So cruel to me! 

When I see the waves 
And hills depart 
The waves rise up 
And drown my heart: 

Curst be the sea 

So cruel to me! 



For Mr. X I've Only Mischief 
A don Foam quer'eu gra mal 

For Mr. X I've only mischief; 
For his wife, I've only love. 
We three have lasted through 
The years, as such things do. 
For, ever since I saw her 
His wife I've always served 
, And sought what he deserved. 

Here's what I'd like to show: 
(It will hurt someone, I know, 
Who'll die, in any case) 
So I'll talk about Mr. Bad 
And the goodness his Mrs. had 
Which has no peer, I know: 
Here's what I'd like to show. 

In wisdom and good looks 
And courteous remarks 
No woman (this I'll swear) 

316 The Iberian Peninsula 

Could match her or compare. 
She'd charm Our Lord Himself 
(He'd charm the Devil more) 
With charming, dev'lish talk. 

And since they both are such, 

I've taken them to heart: 

Let Him Who Watches, judge! 


Alas, Ugly Lady, You Complained 
Ai, dona fea, foste-vos queixar 

Alas, ugly lady, you complained 
My verses never sang your praise 
But now I will compose a song 
And laud you all the same. 
You'll see it's meant for you: 
Ugly lady, nasty old shrew! 

Alas, ugly lady, I'll not say 
You've taken fame to heart: 
And so these lines proclaim 
And laud you all the same. 
You'll see they're meant for you : 
Ugly lady, nasty old shrew! 

Ugly lady, I never praised 

Your vice in verse, though much I've made 

But now I'll make a song of praise 

And laud you all the same: 

Ugly lady, nasty old shrew! 



Roiz de Castelo-Branco 317 

Friend, I Can't Deny 

Amigo, non fosseu negar 

Friend, I can't deny 
I'm all aflame with love, 
For I'm at my wits' end, 
And witlessly I'll say: 

Those green eyes I see 

Are tantalizing me. 

But, whoever understands 
Whose pretty eyes I mean, 
That someone will lament 
About my life, and grieve: 

Those green eyes I see 

Are tantalizing me. 

But men should not be swayed 
Because their wits are weak 
And witless in their sorrow 
Let their sorrow speak : 

Those green eyes I see 

Are tantalizing me. 



Song of Parting 
Cantiga, fartindo-se 

Milady, by departure 

My eyes you so bedim 

That ne'er you've seen such sorrow 

For man or maid or whim. 

So sorrowful, so mournful, 
So dolorous my eyes 

318 The Iberian Peninsula 

So weary, and so tearful, 
I long for death and prize 
This life as but a whim. 
My sorrows part so sorrowed 
So scarce my hope and slim, 
That ne'er you've seen such sorrow 
For man or maid or whim. 



O Flowers, O Flowering Green Pine 
Ai flores, ai flores do verde fto 

O flowers, o flowering green pine, 
What news of my sweet friend? 
O Lord, and where? 

O flowers, o flowering green boughs, 
What news of my sweet love? 
O Lord, and where? 

What news of my sweet friend, 
Who lied to make me bend? 
O Lord, and where? 

What news of my sweet love, 
Who lied of what he swore? 

Lord, and where? 

"You ask for your sweet friend; 

1 say he's live and sound." 

Lord, and where? 

"You ask for your sweet love; 

1 say he's live and sound." 
O Lord, and where? 

King Dinis 3^9 

"I say he's sound and live 
And yours before his time." 
O Lord, and where? 

"I say he's live and sound 
And yours before he grounds." 
O Lord, and where? 



A Shepherdess Well Made 
Ua pastor hen talhada 

A shepherdess well made 

Was longing for her friend 

And was, I will relate, 

From what I saw, irate, 

And said, 'There's nothing more 

To trust a lover for; 

A girl in love should scoff 

For mine, oh mine, ran off." 

On her hand there perched 

A parrot, with a glimmer 

Of mischief in his song, 

For it was nearly summer. 

And said, "Sweet friend, explain 

What shall I do for love 

Now that you've strayed in vain 

And fallen in the flowers?" 

A great part of the day 
She sported there, relying 
At times on old regrets 

^And sometimes merely sighing 
And said, "Ah Good Saint Mary, 
How shall I manage now?" 

320 The Iberian Peninsula 

And then the parrot cackled, 
"Well enough, I vow!" 

"If you would grant a boon, 

Oh lover, please be true, 

Be charitable, too, 

For life is death enough." 

And the bird said, "Dearest lady 

Don't weep, but lend an ear 

For him who served you once, 

Look up, you'll see him here!" 



Provencals Right Well May Versify 
Proengaes soen mui ben trobar 

Provencals right well may versify 

And say they do with love 

But those with verse in flower time 

And never else, I'd vow, 

Their heart is not in torment 

As mine is for my lady. 

Although they're bound to versify 

And praise as best they can, 

Nonetheless, I'd vow 

That those with verse in spring 

And never else, will bring 

No grief as deep as mine. 

For those who versify with joy 
About the verdant time, 
The flowers do their bidding, 
In spring, but soon decline, 

Macias O N amor ado 321 

Nor is their life perdition 
Nor death in life, like mine. 


John Bolo's Acting Grim 
• Joam Bol'and mal desharatado 

John Bolo's acting grim 

And sad and very cross 

For though he's gained, he's lost 

All his mother left him: 

His servant, who's no fool, 

Stole his nag and left his mule. 

If the knave who stole his mule 
Had left John Bol' his nag, 
John wouldn't wring his hands 
Or think it was so cruel : 
But his servant, who's no fool, 
Stole his nag and left his mule. 

If the knave who stole his nag 
Had carried off his mule, 
John, though I'm sure he'd bleat, 
Wouldn't whimper in the street. 
But the knave, when treated cruel, 
Stole his nag and left his mule. 



I Went in Quest of Measure 
Provei de buscar mesura 

I went in quest of measure 
Where measure could but fail, 

322 The Iberian Peninsula 

And lacking in good fortune 
Was judged by folly's rule; 
And so I tell you frankly, 
Beset by growing pain, 
A verse, with this refrain: 

The heart I had 

Has reason to be sad. 

Mine eyes have seen such beauty 

I'll perish, and for sure 

My heart will burst with sorrow 

So great that love's no cure; 

Thus I would advise you, 

Don't speak to me of joy, 

But hear my verses through : 

Well may God maintain 

Great pleasure after pain. 

Woefully these verses 

I've sung e'er since the day 

I went in quest of measure 

And found there was no way. 

Measure I die calling, 

Sighing to maintain 

A verse, with this refrain : 

My dazzled eyes depart 
Struck dead by you, my heart. 

For I did not find measure 
Where measure seldom failed 
But willingly took pleasure 
And all that it entailed; 
And so, still sad and grieving, 
I'll sing, and e'er maintain, 
A verse, with this refrain: 

Good Lord, please bring 

Great pleasure after pain. 


Gonzalo de Berceo 323 

Castilian Poets 


Lament of the Virgin 
Duelo de la Virgen 

To the tomb they did return in coats of mail all dressed, 
Saying dirty, foul insults till all were sore distressed, 
Inventing at that moment songs in cheap and vulgar style, 
Playing their accompaniments on zither, harp, and viol. 

Rhyming songs the rascals sang as they continued thither, 
Harsh and bitter were their words to the Virgin Mother: 
"Oh Jews, let us keep watch, let us with care proceed, 
Lest they make cruel mock of us both in word and deed." 


Keep watch, keep watch, keep watch! 

Keep watch, O Jews, with care and zeal 

Keep watch! 
Lest they the Son of God do steal. 

Keep watch! 

Peter, John, and Andrew too, 

Keep watch! 
Will try to steal Him, woe to you. 

Keep watch! 

Nor rest nor peace will e'er be known, 
Keep watch! 

324 The Iberian Peninsula 

To come out from beneath the stone, 
Keep watch! 

They are all as little thieves, 

Keep watch! 
Who like to peep through holes of keys. 

Keep watch! 

Your tongue that wags so loose and free, 

Keep watch! 
Has made you suffer painfully. 

Keep watch! 

They are all vile and lowly creatures, 

Keep watch! 
Mixed and base, with mongrel features. 

Keep watch! 

Your loose tongue, careless and unwise, 

Keep watch! 
Has put you in this troubled guise. 

Keep watch! 

Nor guile nor tricks can you envision, 

Keep watch! 
To put you forth from out the prision. 

Keep watch! 

You have not reason nor have you sense, 

Keep watch! 
By year's end to get you hence 

Keep watch! 

Thomas and then Matthew too, 

Keep watch! 
Will want to steal Him, to your rue. 

Keep watch! 

He was betrayed by His disciple, 
Keep watch! 

Juan Lorenzo 325 

But understood not, not one trifle. 
Keep watch! 

Philip, Judas, and Simon Peter, 

Keep watch! 
Look for help to steal their leader, 

Keep watch! 

If they wish to do this deed, 

Keep watch! 
Today's the day they surely need! 

Keep watch! 

Keep watch! 
Keep watch, keep watch, keep watch! 

As they joked and boasted, saying foul and shameful things, 
Full villainous and unseemly, their insult wounds and stings, 
Their folly grieved the King of Heaven 

and made his heart all sore, 
At the malice they toward Jesus Christ 

and His companions bore. 



From The Book of Alexander 
Libro de Alexandre 

Alexander, that good magistrate without frontiers 
Had a thought while strolling down the road: 
How he could make a ladder or a hill 
To climb, and see the world spread out below. 

He caught a pair of griffons, valiant birds, 
And had them fed on meats, both salt and fresh, 
Until they were accustomed to the taste 
And eating, grew quite fat and very strong. 

326 The Iberian Peninsula 

He planned to make a supple leather cape 
About the length a man would go, stretched out, 
And tied it to the griffons with a chain 
Like one a heavy man could never break. 

He took the meat, well skewered on a spit, 
Stretched it far before his griffons twain, 
Who lunged at it and strained and flapped their wings; 
They thought to wolf it down, but they could not. 

As they rose, Alexander stood erect 
And kept on rising up into the sky 
Sometimes higher, sometimes dipping low, 
And made them take him where he wished to go. 

He raised the meat, whene'er he wished to rise 
Or lowered it whenever he did not, 
And where the griffons saw it, they were sure to go, 
Nor did he scold them, for hunger's hard to bear. 

So far did Alexander push upward toward the clouds 
That hills and valleys spread out for him below; 
The rivers plunged down deep into the sea, 
But just how deep, he never could conceive. 

He saw the harbors where oceans narrow down; 
He saw great perils in many wondrous spots; 
He saw great galleys crashing on the rocks, 
And others enter port, and take their meals. 

Thus he learned of Africa's great form 
And where effecting entry might be best; 
Then suddenly he found the best way out, 
For vast the journey was, and hard and slow. 

It takes too long to tell you all he saw; 
Half a day would hardly be enough; 
But at a certain time he came to know 
What no scholar ever thought to show. 


Anonymous 327 


Dispute of Elena and Maria 
Disfuta de Elena y Maria 

(Elena extols the way of life of her lover, the 
Knight, and makes fun of that of Maria's lover, 
the Clergyman.) 

To the palace goes my lover, 
But he's not starved or cold; 
He goes along on horseback 
Nobly shod and clothed. 
Knights seek out his company, 
Squires serve his wants, 
They give him princely wages 
And render him accounts. 
When visiting the palace, 
Spruced up, and very well, 
Along with arms and horses, 
His squires and his men, 
He always brings his goshawks, 
And falcons, purest bred. 
When hunting by the river, 
He makes the biggest kill : 
Bitterns and bustards, 
And other birds as well. 
When he nears the palace, 
God! how good he looks! 
Goshawks shriek, 
Horses neigh, 
And merrily he sings. 
He honors me and buys me 
The finest shoes and clothes, 
Pretty silks and satins, 
And things I won't disclose. 
Believe me, his one kiss 

328 The Iberian Peninsula 

Outdoes an abbot's five, 

Like yours, with his scrapy beard, 

Always bundled in his cloak, 

His head and chin and neck 

First cousin to a toad. 

But what your lover cares for, 

Your priestie's great concern, 

Is counting up his rosaries, 

And getting brats to learn: 

Battling with his hands, 

To baptize godsons live; 

Eating food and spending, 
C Sleeping and cavorting, 

v Seducing good man's daughters, 

Both married and engaged. 

If he can't tell right from wrong, 

A man's not worth a drat: 

Mine knows which is which; 

He's a better man for that! 



From The Book of True Love 
[Libro de Buen Amor] 

Encounter of the Archpriest with Ferrand Garcia 
De lo que acontescio at Arcijpreste con Ferrand Garcia 

I swear my eyes won't see the light 
Now their Cross is lost for life. 
This Lady Cross, the baker's wife, 
I came across, all set to browse on, 
Like any other Andalusian. 
I thought she'd be my private lane — 
She was Public Highway One. 
And the pains I took to get her! 

Juan Ruiz 3 2 9 

I told that poacher, "Now, Garcia, 
Be my go-between and clear 
A path for me — be nice and tender.'' 
Yes, he said, he'd gladly do it, 
But got himself set up and rooted 
In her private crossroad bed. 
I got the crusts that he spat out. 
He got all the softest bread. 
• Through him I told her she would get 
Every bit of my best wheat. 
But he charged her with his rabbit — 
That dirty, double crossing cheat! 
God cripple all these go betweens, 
These lowdown leaping rabbiteers! 


Don Pitas Payas 
Don Pitas Payas 

A man once left his wife — I'll tell you all about it — 

And if the tale's no good, then tell me one to match it. 

His name was Pitas Payas, a lusty Breton painter 

Who married a young wife, who liked her man to romp her. 

Before one month was up, he told her, "Wife, 
I'm off to Flanders, I'll bring you lots of presents." 
"My lord," she cried, "Godspeed, 
But don't forget my person." 

"Mistress of beauty," Sir Payas said, 

"On your body I long to paint 

A figure to curb more folly:" 

She answered, "My lord, then paint it on my belly." 

Under her navel he made a lamb 

And then flew off, as cocky as a merchant 

33° The Iberian Peninsula 

To spend two years — and not by chance — 
Each month she thought a year had passed. 

She'd only just been married 
And not dwelt long with him: 
A willing friend took over 
And wore away her lamb. 

When she heard her spouse was coming 
She ran to tell her friend 
And said, "Please paint, as best you can, 
Another lamb right here." 

But in his rush, he made a ram 
With horns and whatsis sprouting 
For just that day, a herald told 
Of Pitas Payas' coming. 

When he finally came from Flanders 
His wife gave scornful welcome 
And when the two were snug in bed 
He asked to see his token. 

"Forgive me, wife/' Pitas Payas said, 
"Let's strip and see our token." 
"Husband," she said, "go look for yourself, 
Now do your will; be bold!" 

He looked at the accustomed place 
And saw the ram with horns. 
"Wife," he said, "can you tell me this, 
How I made a lamb and find this dish?" 

As women in all such arguments 

Are always smooth and clever, she said : 

"What, husband, two years, and can't a lamb grow? 

If you hadn't delayed, the horns wouldn't show!" 

So watch your step, don't leave the goods, 
Don't be Pitas Payas, and force your wife to look: 

Juan Ruiz 331 

With pretty speeches, praise her all the way, 
And when she's yours, be sure you never stray. 



Hill Song [Near Tablada] 
Cantica de serrana [Cerca la Tablada] 

Near Tablada 
Past the crest 
I met Aldara 
Close to dawn. 

Atop the pass 
I thought I'd die 
Of snow and cold 
And frosty dew. 

Down the slope 
I made a turn 
And met a hill girl 
Buxom red. 

"I bow, my pretty," 
"Just don't," she said, 
"Keep on running 
And go your way." 

I said, "My beauty, 
I'm cold as sin. 
Please, for measure, 
Take me in." 

She thought it over: 
"Friend," she said, 
"It's either marriage, 
Or pay the bride." 

332. The Iberian Peninsula 

I told her, "Gladly, 
But I've been wed 
Here in Herreros: 
I'll pay, beloved." 

She said, "Gee haw," 
So off we sped 
And lit the candle 
As hill folk do. 

She gave me rye bread 
Black with soot 
Stale, thin wine 
And salted meat. 

She gave me goat cheese 
"Hidalgo," she said, 
"Open the satchel, 
There's more inside." 

She said, "Drink up 
And warm your gizzard, 
We won't be home 
Till round the bend. 

"Who gives good gifts 
Gets what he likes: 
Free bed and supper 
And more, besides." 

"Now tell me," said I, 
"Just what's the price?" 
Said she, "I'm thinking — 
Will you be nice? 

"Well, give me a ribbon 
Dyed bright red — 
A fancy tunic 
With high frilled edge. 

Juan Ruiz 333 

"Give me a string 
Of bright tin beads, 
A sparkling jewel 
And furs I need. 

"Give me a kerchief 
With skirtsy stripes, 
A pair of heels 
And all one piece. 

'With jewels like that 
I'll serve you well : 
You'll be my husband, 
And I, your girl." 

"Milady hill girl, 
I left 'em home, 
But here's a pledge 
For round the turn." 

Miss Ugly told me: 
"No cash, no trade. 
I give no credit 
Till I've been paid. 

"No cash, no credit, 
No fun for free : 
Who gives no treasure 
Gets none from me. 

"Honor never foots the bill, 
Cash takes care of 
What men will: 
Proof's not wanting, 
That's for sure." 



334 The Iberian Peninsula 

Easter Day 

De como clerigos e legos e flayres e monjas e duenas e 

joglares salieron a recebir a don Amor 

This is a holy, festive Easter day, 
The happy sun has leaped with brightest ray, 
And all created things join bird and flower 
To welcome Love in His triumphant hour. 

The swelling choirs against the darkness fling 
Their sweetest song and merry choraling; 
Parrot and jay and lark and nightingale — 
Both great and small, their risen Love they hail. 

The branches of the woods with buds are bent, 
Bursting with living hues, with odors blent, 
And all men lift their hearts in harmony 
To greet their Love, praising orchestrally. 



Of the Characteristics of Small Women 
De las propiedades que las duenas chicas han 

I'd like to cut the preaching short, 
For sermons brief are best, I've thought, 
And so for ladies as for speech 
What's short and pithy moves us each. 

A babbler is a laughing stock; a laugher often cracks his crock 
Love in short women is great, not small : 
Some tall women few short can top, 
But tall for short's a lucky swap. 

Cupid told me : Praise 'em short, 
Sing their glories, and report, 

Juan Ruiz 335 

And so with tongue in cheek 111 show 
They're hot as fire, cold as snow. 

They're cold outside but hot in love 
In bed a comfort, light as fluff, 
Around the house, wise, good, and gay, 
You'll find out more, so pay good heed. 

The zircon's small, but what a gem! 
A little sugar's succulent: 
In little women, there lies great love: 
Few words suffice for clever men. 

Good peppercorn's exceeding small 
But more than nutmeg spiced and warm: 
A little woman, when she's in love, 
Every pleasure's hers to give. 

As roses small are color bright 
In little gold, great treasure; 
In little balsam, great perfume, 
Small women's love's not measured. 

As little rubies sparkle best 
With goodness, pride and virtue, 
So women small are prettiest 
Most loving, loyal, and graceful. 

Small's the lark and nightingale: 
No larger bird sings sweeter: 
A little woman's tenderness 
Outsweets all flowers and sugar. 

The oriole and popinjay 
Are tiny, but sweet shouters: 
A little woman who's in love 
'S a prized and gifted singer. 

With little women naught compares, 
She's paradise and comfort, 

336 The Iberian Peninsula 

Joy and solace, pleasure blessed, 
And more in proof than greeting. 

I'll always take small for big or great: 
To flee great evil I deem discreet; 
"Choose the lesser," says the sage, 1 
And so, in women, least is best. 



From Moral Proverbs 

Some I've Seen So Crudely 
Unos vi con locura 

Some I've seen so crudely 
Building up large sums, 
While others go so shrewdly 
Losing all they won. 


There's No Day without Night 
Non ay syn noche dia 

There's no day without night, 
Nor without heat, cold's bite; 
Sowing first, reaping after, 
Without weeping there's no laughter. 


1 Aristotle 

Hurtado de Mendoza 337 

There's No Finer Treasure 
Non ay buen thesoro 

There's no finer treasure 
Than doing right, 
Or sweeter pleasure, 
Or coin so bright. 



Whether Long or Sparing 
Quier larga, quier escasa 

Whether long or sparing, 
Speech is like 
A passing shadow 
That leaves no trail. 
There is no lance 
That pierces every armor, 
Nor aught that transfixes 
Like what is written. 
The flying arrow 
Hits the mark, 
And letters hark 
From Burgos unto Egypt. 



That Tree with Its Leaves Atremble 
A aquel drbol que mueve la foxa 

That tree with its leaves atremble: 
It is possessed of something. 

338 The Iberian Peninsula 

That tree so lovely to look at 
Seems as though it would bud now: 
It is possessed of something. 

That tree so lovely to behold 
Seems as though it were a flower: 
It is possessed of something. 

Seems as though it would bloom now: 

They can be seen already; come out and watch them: 

It is possessed of something. 

Seems as though it would flower: 

They can be seen already; come out and look: 

It is possessed of something. 

They can be seen already: come out and behold them. 
Let the ladies come cut down the fruit: 
It is possessed of something. 



By God, My Lords, Let us Lift the Veil 
Por Dios, senores, quitemos el veto 

By God, my lords, let us lift the veil 
That clouds and blinds our view: 
Let us gaze on death, which rules the world 
Dashing high and low aground: 
Our moans transpierce the skies 
To God, as we seek pardon 
For sins of every age : 
Childhood, youth, decay. 

For life is not what we have lived 
For, living, we grow closer 

inchez Calavera 339 

o cruel, elusive death; and when 

Ve live our life the most, we waken, finding death. 

lost certain is the time of birth 

ess certain, when we die; 

ife's certainty lasts not an hour; 

^ith grief we come, with grief we go. 

What became of emperors 
Jreat prelates, popes, and kings? 
)ukes and counts and gentle knights, 
ach men, strong, and wise? 
low many righteous lovers served 
iverywhere bearing arms 
aid how many skilled in learned arts: 
)octors, troubadors, and bards? 

Sons and fathers, cherished kin, 
riends we dearly loved: 
Ve ate and drank and romped with them, 
'air and gracious, all! 
)uennas, girls, and valiant youth, 
Vho brawl about below, 
Ind some, who just the other day 
Vere present here above. 

The Duke of Cabra and the Admiral 
tad great men of Castile: 
^ow Ruy Diaz, whose standing 
Vas so high, his praises ran 
<rom Spain unto the Orient 
linging out in feats of excellence 
Jo great, he dazed the court 
Vith his kind and noble mien? 

Of those that I have mentioned 
>ome are ash and dust 
Others, bone and putrefaction 
..eft scattered to the dogs. 
Dthers are broken skeletons 

34° The Iberian Peninsula 

Heads without hands or feet; 
Others make good meals for worms 
Others are first interred. 

Now where are the kings and emperors 
The rulers, rents, and lords? 
Where are the pride and arrogance, 
The courage and reports? 
Where are the ventures, where the deeds? 
Where are the crafts, and learned skills? 
Where are the masters of poetry, 
Where, the rhymesters of mastery, 
Where the songs, and tambourines? 

Where are treasures, serfs, and vassals, 
The brooches and precious stones? 
Where are the pearls and costly trimmings, 
The musk and fragrant oils? 

Where are the golden fabrics, and lustrous chains, 
The garters and the necklaces, 
The black and silver furs, 
The tinkling timbrelines? 

Where are the banquets, feasts, and dinners, 
The tournaments and jousts? 

WTiere are the gaudy dresses, the swayed and mincing steps?: 
Where is the art of dancers, 
Where the meals and the repasts; 
WTiere is the frankness and the splurging, 
Where the pleasures and laughs; 
Where are the minstrels and buffoons? 

I believe with all my being 
That now the time is come 
As told of by Isaiah : 
When cities shall be desolate 
With the stench of rotting corpses 
When noble men of qualitv shall die 

Marques de Santillana 341 

With mourners at their gates, 
And every habitation lie in ruins. 

Such death and great destruction 
Jeremiah once foretold: 
His wrathful eyes repenting 
For errant ways of old. 
And in that verse and chapter 
The careful reader finds 
That now, indeed, is time. 

Thus it is wisest to provide 
And clothe bare souls with virtues : 
And castigate our bodies, 
For we are sure of loss. 
Who ventures to advise this 
Need never fail for death, 
But shall pass from death to triumph 
In everlasting life. 



Far from You and Close to Care 
Lejos de vos y cerca de cuidado 

Far from you and close to care 
Poor in pleasure and rich in sorrow, 
Deprived of rest and well provided 
With mortal pain, anguish and fury; 

Stripped of hope and cloaked in 
Immense affliction and vested with bitterness, 
My life escapes me, against all efforts, 
Death pursues me without ceasing. 

342 The Iberian Peninsula 

Not enough to satisfy at present 
The burning thirst of my great desire 
Is Tagus; nor, to succor me, I think 

The sickly Guadiana : 

Only Guadalquivir has power 

To cure me and that only I desire. 


Mountain Song of Finojosa 
Serranilla de la Finojosa 

No lovelier lass have I seen 
than one standing on the green 
tending her cows 
at Finojosa 

Making my way from Calatraveno town 

to Saint Mary's 

by sleep led astray 

and mistaking my course 

through scrubby gorse 

I saw the girl 

tending her cows 

at Finojosa. 

Gay was the meadow 

a-bloom with roses, 

and there she stood 

among all the others; 

yet so lovely was she 

that she simply could not be 

just tending her cows 

at Finojosa. 

In truth I could not sing 
in any way proper 

de Mena 343 

of the roses of spring 
had I not first 
— to be quite frank — 
laid eyes upon the girl 
who tended her cows 
at Finojosa. 

Yet I did not dare 
to rest my gaze 
upon such beauty rare 
and so lose my liberty. 
But said I: "Fair lady, 
(to find out who she was) 
where is the girl 
who tends her cows 
at Finojosa?" 

With lips in curl of smile 
she said: "Welcome be. 
But it takes such little guile 
to find out what you're after. 
She needs no love, 
nor thinks thereof, 
that girl who tends the cows 
at Finojosa." 



Mourning of the Mother of Lorenzo Davalos 
Duelo de la madre de Lorenzo Davalos 

With jagged nails she tore her face 
And rent her breasts with little measure. 
She kissed her son's dead lips grown cold 
And cursed the hands that wrought his murder. 
She cursed the war and its beginning 
And wrathfully spewed cruel complaints 

344 The Iberian Peninsula 

Denied herself her due reprisal 

And close to living death, she stopped. 

Weeping, she cried with rabid tongue: 
"Oh murderer who killed my son, 
Why not me, instead of him? 
I would be no stubborn victim 
And death would be a worthy thing. 
You would not bear so steep a burden 
Or show yourself so cruel to him 
As this has been to me." 

"If his mother died the first, 
These hands would close my eyes; 
My son would tell his brothers 
I died a single time. 
Now I perish wretched, 
And suffer for his wounds 
With sad unanswered tears 
Though wept in my despair." 

Thus the pious matron 
Lamented her dear son 
And hovered by his body 
Like a lioness with cubs. 



Stanzas on the Death of His Father 
Co'plas for la muerte de su padre 

Let the drowsy soul awake! 

Let the mind rise quick from sleep 

To think of this: 
How the living meet their fate, 
How we feel the silent feet 

Jorge Manrique 345 

That death imprints; 
How soon we see our pleasures go, 
How easily they are recalled 

But with what pain; 
Now, as it seems, we've only known 
A past far better when it's gone 

Than present days. 

Well : if we look about the world — 
Time in a moment lost from sight 

And smuggled away — 
If we can look, and judge things well, 
We'll count all past and future times 

At the same rate. 
Let no one fool himself, not here! 
Let one think a wished-for thing 

Is to endure 
Longer than what his eyes have seen — 
For all things, like all days, go in; 

All doors shut to. 

These lives of ours are living streams 
But all the streams wind to the sea 

And the sea is death. 
There, the great estates retreat, 
Moving headlong to be seized 

And lost to earth; 
There, the most imposing floods, 
There, the undistinguished, there 

The puny rills 
Become obliviously one: 
Hands that had to toil and scrape, 

And hands with rings. 

Let the men of Troy lie by, 

For what have our eyes seen of them, 

Their glories or griefs? 
Let the men of Rome sleep quiet, 

346 The Iberian Peninsula 

For all the exploits that invest 

Our books and ears! 
What have we to do with those 
That lived in days long gone, their cares 

Are not our care! 
But those of yesterday we know 
And sing, though even yesterday 

Evades, and fades. 

Where have they gone, the King Don Juan, 
The princes and the sons of Aragon, 

Where are they now? 
What has become of that brilliant band 
Of knights, where are their stirring thoughts 

Like seed on the ground? 
That jousting and those tournaments, 
The array and the embroidery, 

The crests of arms — 
Did we just dream them while we slept? 
Are they more now than the green ear 

That's dust in the barn? 

What has become of the ladies there, 
The coiffures and the gowns they wore, 

The scents they breathed? 
What has become of all those flames, 
Those fires the lovers struck alone 

From hearts and tears? 
Where has the poetry slipped away, 
And sweetness of musicians 

Drawn from the strings? 
Where is the dancing or the air? 
Where are the silks and elegance 

The dancers bring? 

And then the next in line to the throne, 
Don Enrique, what powers grew 

Between his hands! 
With what deceitful soft approach 

Jorge Manrique 347 

The world and its delights seduced 

That happy man! 
But who can hide how the world bent 
Its enmities against him, cruel 

In their reversal — 
How it had barely been his friend 
When all it gave him was removed and 

Proved unperpetual! 

The indiscriminate largesse, 
The kingly edifices crammed 

With a king's gold, 
The brightly shining banquet-sets, 
The treasury with coins like sand 

On a golden shore, 
The horses and caparisons 
Of all his folk, and such a flash 

Of garb and arms : 
Where shall we go to see these things? 
What were they but the dews that star 

A field of grass? 

There is one man, and master of men, 
Rodrigo Manrique, whom I'd extol 

If there was need; 
But his great acts are known, he's blessed 
By the good people he upholds, 

They love his deeds, 
And men can see why he is loved, 
His courage, his audacity 

Blaze out, so that 
I have no wish to gild a sun 
Appearing in such clarity 

Through crystal fact. 

What a friend to friends, how intimate! 
What a gendeman to kinsmen 
And servants alike! 

348 The Iberian Peninsula 

What a foe he was to foemen, 
What an example to his own men, 

Bold, brisk in fight! 
What wisdom to delight the thinker! 
What elegance to meet the witty! 

What reach of mind! 
With what a mild hand he commanded, 
Till rebel and vainglorious banners 

Unloosed a lion! 

It was no mountain of treasure he left, 
It was no glitter of riches and plate 

That he amassed; 
But the Moors knew the armies he led, 
And lost the fortresses he gained 

And the towns he attacked; 
And those were battles that he won 
Where Moor on Moor and horse on horse 

Lay dead and still, 
And only by exploits did he come 
Into such lands and servitors 

As were given him. 

And for those other times in the past, 
How did he defend his name 

And his estate? 
Finding himself left poor in arms, 
He by his servants and brothers saved 

What he maintained. 
After the famous deeds were done 
In this war that engaged his sword 

As I have said, 
His treaties were so honor-hung 
That he was given even more 

Land than he held. 

The legends that he painted once 
By his main strength so long ago 

Jorge Manrique 349 

When he was young 
He now restored in age, his brush 
Tracing new victories as of old, 

In new wars won. 
And so, for his abilities 
And great renown, and good old age 

Harvested home, 
He was granted then the dignity 
Of the crown of knighthood, the great 

Order of the Sword. 

And when he saw the tyrants come 
To occupy his fields and homesteads 

He rose up 
And by his arm they were undone, 
By sally and by siege he forced their 

Armies to turn. 
And whether all the deeds he did 
Were deeds that dutifully served 

Our lawful king, 
Let him of Portugal admit, 
Or him who followed at his death, 

Of Castile's kin. 

After he had so many times 
Gambled his own life-blood to keep 

Good rule in force, 
After he had with single mind 
Served the true crown he so revered, 

And the true throne, 
After all the adventurous acts 
So crowded that no numbering them 

Is possible, 
There came to his town, to Ocana, 
Knocking at the door of his house, Death 

To call on him, 

Saying: "O admirable knight, 
Leave the deceitful world to those 

35° The Iberian Peninsula 

It flatters yet; 
Let your heart of true steel shine 
With all the fortitude you've known, 

In this distress; 
And since you cared so little once 
For life and safety, when you aimed 

At glory alone, 
Now let your good name fear no hurt 
And strongly meet the insolent pain 

Which calls you to go. 

'The battle you expect is terrible? 
Reject a tempting bitterness; 

You stand exposed: 
But here, remember, you have left to us 
Your second, larger life, which spreads 

Its fame, and grows; 
And though this life of honor is 
No more eternal than the first, 

Nor yet more real, 
It is better and more glorious 
Than life that runs through dying earth 

On vanishing heels. 

"The truly lasting life is won 
Not by possessing great estates 

Here in the world, 
Nor by brimming a joyous cup 
In which the sins of hell can dare 

The unwary to err; 
But rather is it won by tears, 
By prayers that the good monks make 

To bring it near, 
By labors and by difficulties 
Where knights attack the Moors to gain 

The fame they seek. 

"And since, O famous fighter, you 
Have scattered so much pagan blood 

Jorge Manrique 351 

Deep in the ground, 
For your hope a reward is sure: 
You with your own hands have built up 

Life here and now; 
Let this become your confidence, 
And let the faith that clothes your stride 

Complete and true 
Console your hopeful parting steps 
And take you where that far third life 

At last is yours." 

"Ah, let us waste then no more time 
In speaking of this petty stir 

Of soil and air! 
For my will with the will divine 
In every element concurs 

That words can say, 
And I consent to dying now 
With a will that breathes in joy, 

So pure, so clear 
It sees the madness in the frown 
Of dying men who clutch too long 

What God has seized. 

"You who took degraded form 
And humble name to save the souls 

Of sick mankind: 
You whose divinity was drawn 
To bitter unity below 

The stars, with life: 
You who were willing to endure 
In life and flesh such tortures as 

Bad men could mete: 
Not for my merits, only yours, 
Only through your grace, I ask: 

Lord, pardon me." 

So, in that state of understanding, 
With every human feeling sharp 

35 2 The Iberian Peninsula 

In consciousness, 
Surrounded by his wife, his family 
Of sons and brothers, in the heart 

Of his serving-men, 
He gave his soul back to its giver, 
And may that giver set it in 

A glory undimmed. 
It is true that his life is finished. 
We have good consolation still, 

Remembering him. 



The Barbs of Mingo Revulgo 
Las coflas de Mingo Revulgo 


Ah, Mingo Revulgo, Mingo! 

Ah, Mingo Revulgo, hallo! 

What's happened to your blue tunic? 

Isn't that your Sunday best? 

And what of your scarlet doublet? 

Why do you look all but pleased? 

After a sleepless night, 

You scowl about, unkempt; 

Why don't you speak out loud? 


Your face is sad and grieved, 
Your body's full of aches; 
You cross from hill to valley 
Like a beast that's gone astray. 
You don't watch where you're going 
Straight forward or straight back 

Anonymous 353 

And spreading out your legs, 
You make great sideward strides 
Not knowing where you are . . . 



By my faith, Gil Arribato, 

We must have lost our minds 

When we let old Candaule 1 

Be shepherd of our flock. 

He struts about after shepherd boys 2 

In these secluded parts 

All day in sheer delight 

Playing the hare-brained idler 

And shrugging at our ills. 


Look now, look at those flocks 3 
And the she-ass with the hounds 4 
How they wander in the hills 
Lost, and gone astray. 
By all the saints, I swear 
That big pot-bellied oaf 
(May his eyebrows never prosper!) 
Has gone off without his sheep 
To hide behind every hedge. 

Yonder, in those ravines, 
You'll find some bleating lambs 
Here, a few dead sheep 
That fell into the ditch. 
The grass has all been grazed, 
Forbidden fields are bare 
And even the trees in town : 

1 A vicious and extravagant King of hydia, mentioned hy Herodotus. 
2 Courtiers and favorites. 3 The people. 

4 The Church and the clergy. 

354 The Iberian Peninsula 

Such havoc in Esparilla 5 
Was never seen by living men. 


May a wicked poison take him 

And shepherds of his ilk 

Whose horn is full of turpentine 

But neglects his mangy flock. 

He sees the wolves a-prowl 

He hears the livestock bleat 

But only bursts out laughing when he does. 

And so he never ceases 

To pray his shepherds' pipes. 


The hound Justine 6 

So dauntless, as you know, 

Grew raw-boned on thin air 

And died. I swear to God, you'd pity her 

With her courage and her strength 

She attacked the fiercest lions 

And could kill a sly, old wolf. 

Now a sorry rabbit 

Has packed her in a corner. 



Of course, brother Revulgo, 

You're grieved about your sins; 

If you do no good works 

Another ill will stare you in the face. 

For if you had confidence 

You'd have warm land for grazing 

And green pastures all year long. 

You'd not have any losses 

Of harvests or of sheep. 

r> Spain. 6 Justice. 

\Anonymous 355 


But you're not well-advised 
On how to act with profit. 
You stretch flat on your belly 
For seven hours, 7 like dead. 
Courage, now, be confident again, 
And purify your conscience 
So you can rise again 
For, if you don't, death just 
May strike you down by chance. 


I dreamt this very night 
And tremble at the thought 
That this time neither beards 
Nor beardless would be spared. 
So go to bed and sleep! 
For, as far as I can see, 
About the way things are, 
I guess the three mad wolves 8 
Will hunt throughout the land. 


I'm sure that you've seen sallowness: 9 

Always out of breath, 

Declining, lean, and sighing, 

And pitiful to all; 

Who, though she may devour, is never satisfied; 

With her fangs she never ceases 

To bite and dodge and nip; 

The flock will not be long 

In spreading far and wide. 


The other scurvy traitor 10 
Cruel and fierce to fight 

7 Because of Seven Deadly Sins. 8 Hunger, War and Plague. 
9 Hunger. 10 War. 

356 The Iberian Peninsula 

Handmaid of every evil 
And born a thief 
Knows farms very well 
And leaves no mother or child 
Alive in their smoky hovels 
In the valleys or the pens : 
She knows where people hide. 


And even the three-pronged one 11 
Who eats up little lambs 
And never spares the yearlings 
When she's the least bit peeved, 
I fear she won't forget 
To come and divvy up 
Her portion of the loot. 
Tell me, with such a team 
Who would not be scared? 


I think it less harmful 
To thread the middle way 
For high or low 
No road is safe. 
Remember now, you must 
Be firm. Don't let your foot 
Slip off its rightful place 
For many woes beset 
This vale of tears. 



11 Plague. 

The Cancionero 357 


[El Cancionero] 

If You Go to Bathe, Juanica 
Si te vas a banar ]uanica 

If you go to bathe, Juanica, 
tell me where you go. 
For I, Juanica darling, 
admire your figure so. 


Those Mountains, Mother 

Aquellas sierras, madre 

Those mountains, mother 
are steep to climb, 
where streams rush down 
to fields of thyme. 

Those mountains, mother 
have flowers above : 
up where they are, 
I have my love. 


I Refuse to Be a Nun 

No quiero ser monja, no 

I refuse to be a nun, 

for I'm a girl who's found a boy. 

;58 The Iberian Peninsula 

Leave me with my pleasure, 
with my pleasure and my joy, 
leave me with my stubborn ways, 
for I'm a girl who's found a boy. 


I Will Not Pick Verbena 
Que no cogere verbena 

I will not pick verbena 
on the morrow of St. John, 
for my lover has gone. 

I will not pick sunflowers, 
honeysuckle or carnations. 
Only sorrows will I pluck 
and cruel frustrations, 
for my lover has gone. 


Do Not Speak to Me, Count 

No me hableis, conde 

Do not speak to me, count, 
of love in the street, 
for my mother will say 
you are indiscreet. 

Tomorrow I'll go, sir, 
to wash at the stream. 
Then I promise, sir count, 
to fulfill your dream. 

Do not speak to me, count, 
of love in the street, 

The Cancionero 359 

for my mother will say 
you are indiscreet. 


Hill Song of La Zarzuela 

Serranilla de La Zarzuela 

I was going, Mother, to Villa Real, 

And lost my way where it was wild. 

No bread had I for seven days, 

My hawk no meat, my mule no grain. 

Between La Zarzuela and Darazutan, 

I raised my eyes up toward the sun. 

I saw a cabin, and there was smoke; 

I spurred my mule, and then rode up. 

The shepherd's dogs came out to bark 

And then a pretty highland girl 

Said, "Stranger, do not be afraid, 

My parents now have gone to town, 

My darling Mingo's gone for bread, 

We 11 have two days before they're back. 

You'll drink this milk while I make cheese, 

We'll make a bed beside the field, 

And make a son, and call him Paul, 

He'll be a bishop, priest, or pope, 

Or else the swineherd of Villa Real; 

Well, by my life, you must find this a joke!" 


Gentle Knight/ Now Give Me a Kiss 
Gentil caballero / dedesme hora un beso 

Gentle knight, 
Now give me a kiss, 

360 The Iberian Peninsula 

Perhaps for trie harm 
You've done me. 

The knight rode on, 
He rode from Seville: 
And in a convent garden, 
Picked lemons, 
And the prioress 
Asked for pretty favors : 
Perhaps for the harm 
You've done me. 


To Whom Shall I Tell My Sorrows? 
I A quien contare mis que j as? 

To whom shall I tell my sorrows 

My handsome love, 
To whom shall I tell my sorrows 

If not to you? 


I Grew Up in a Village 

Crieme en aldea 

I grew up in a village 

And then I turned nut-brown; 

I would have been more beautiful 

If I'd grown up in town. 


The Romancero 361 

Out of Love 
For amoves lo maldijo 

Out of love 

The bad mother 

Cursed the good son. 

"I wish to God in heaven 

and his mother, good Saint Mary, 

that you were not my son, 

so I could be your mistress!" 

Thus the bad mother 

Called, and cursed the good son. 

Out of love, she cursed him. 



The Romancero or Book of Ballads 
[El Romancero] 

Ballad of Juliana 

"Get on, you hounds, get on, 

And may the furies take you. 

Thursday you kill the boar 

And eat the meat on Friday. 

'Today makes seven years 

I've wandered in these hills. 

Now both my feet are bare, 

Blood spurts from my toenails. 

"Now I drink fresh gore, 

The meat I eat is raw, 

362 The Iberian Peninsula 

And sadly seek Juliana, 

Who was the emperor's daughter. 

"Early St. John's morning, 

While she gathered flowers, 
The Moors took her away 

From her father's bowers." 

Juliana hears this said 

Wrapt in the Moor's embrace; 

Twin tears her two eyes shed 

Fall on that Moor's face. 


Count Arnaldos 
El Conde Arnaldos 

Who can tell of such adventure above the bounding main 
As befell good Count Arnaldos, the morning of St. John? 
He readied for the hunt, with a falcon in his hand 
And saw a ship approach, veering toward the land 
With sails of purest silk, and shrouds of finest crepe 
And at the helm a sailor, who made the winds abate. 
He sang the waves to sleep, and made the deep fish rise 
And to the mast birds flocked, and perched there 

in surprise. 
Then spoke Count Arnaldos, then he spoke at last: 
"By God, I beg you, sailor, now tell me of your song." 
Then the sailor answered : his answer was not long, 
"Only those who travel with me will ever know my song." 



The Romancero 383 

Ballad of the Fair Melisenda 
La linda Melisenda 

The people all were sleeping 

All in God's protection, 

But the emperor's daughter 

Melisenda was awake. 

Her love for Count Airuelo 

Would not let her rest. 

She leapt naked out of bed, 

Putting on a smock 

When she could not find a skirt, 

And went across the halls 

Where her ladies slept. 

Slapping every one, 

She began to shout: 

"Arise, if you are sleeping, 

Maidens mine, arise, arise. 

And you know of love, 

Give me some advice. 

You who do not know of love, 

Spare me by keeping quiet. 

My love for Count Airuelo 

Will not let me rest." 

Up spoke an old woman, 

A woman ancient of days: 

"Now is the time, my lady, 

To enjoy yourself, 

For if you wait till you are old, 

No young man will want you. 

I learnt this as a girl, 

And never did forget it, 

From the days when I was raised 

In your father's house." 

No sooner did she hear this 

Than Melisenda heard no more; 

She went to find the Count 

364 The lOerian Peninsula 

In the palace where he was. 

She ran into young Hernando, 

Her father's constable. 

'What is all this, Melisenda? 

What can all this mean? 

You are either lovesick 

Or else are going mad!" 

"No, I am not lovesick, 

For no one do I grieve, 

But when I was a child 

I was taken very ill, 

And swore to say novenas 

At St. John Lateran's. 

There the ladies go by day, 

And at night we maidens." 

When Hernando heard this, 

He spoke no further word. 

The princess in her anger 

Sought revenge on him. 

"Lend me now, Hernando, 

Please lend me your dagger, 

For I am very frightened 

Of the dogs that roam the street." 

He held the dagger by the point, 

She took it by the hilt 

And gave him such a thrust with it 

He fell dead upon the floor. 

She went on to the palace 

Where Count Airuelo was. 

She found the doors shut down, 

And not knowing how to enter, 

By magic opened them up wide. 

When he heard the din and clatter, 

The Count began to shout: 

"Come and help me, knights, 

Help me without delay; 

I fear my enemies are here 

Who come to murder me." 

Discreetly Melisenda 

The Romancero 365 

Began to speak to him : 

"Do not be alarmed, sir; 

Do not be surprised. 

I am but a Moorish maiden 

Come from overseas." 

As soon as he had heard her, 

The Count knew who she was. 

The Count drew closer to her 

And took her hands in his, 

And in a laurel shade 

They played the Venus game. 


The Prisoner 
El frisionero 

Ah, for the month of May, of May, 
When the days grow warm, 
When the wheat-ear's sprouting 
And the fields with flowers swarm, 
When to the song of the skylark 
The nightingale replies, 
And when the lovers set about 
To wait upon their brides; 
And I, poor wretch, disconsolate 
Behind these prison walls, 
Know neither when 'tis daytime 
Nor when nighttime falls, 
Except that once a little bird 
Would sing to me at dawn. 
But oh, the archer shot him — 
May God avenge the wrong! 



366 The Iberian Peninsula 

Ballad of the Cool Fountain 
Fonte Frida 

Fountain, coolest fountain, 

Cool fountain of love, 

Where all the sweet birds come 

For comforting — but one, 

A widow turtledove, 

Sadly sorrowing. 

At once the nightingale, 

That wicked bird, came by 

And spoke these honied words: 

"My lady, if you will, 

I shall be your slave." 

"You are my enemy : 

Begone, you are not true! 

Green boughs no longer rest me, 

Nor any budding grove. 

Clear springs, when there are such, 

Turn muddy at my touch. 

I want no spouse to love 

Nor any children either. 

I forego that pleasure 

And their comfort too. 

No, leave me : you are false 

And wicked — vile, untrue! 

I'll never be your mistress! 

I'll never marry you!" 




Abenamar, Abenamar 
Moor of Moor's delight 
The hour of your birth 

The Romancero 367 

Comets filled the night. 
The sea was calm as glass 
The moon was waxing full 
A Moor with stars like yours 
Must never break the spell. 
"I tell the truth, my lord, 
Though it be death to tell." 
"I thank you, Abenamar, 
Your birth bespeaks you well. 
What castles are those shining 
High on yonder hill?" 
"The Alhambra there, my lord, 
The mosque tower further still, 
And there, the Alixares, 
Built so wondrous well. 
A Moor was paid to build them 
A hundred crowns a day 
And lost, for each day idle, 
As much as he was paid. 
When all was built and ready 
The architect was slain 
So he could build no others 
For Andalusia's reign. 
There lies Crimson Towers 
A castle of renown 
And there, the Generalife, 
Of matchless garden fame." 
Then spoke King don Juan, 
Mark what he will say: 
'With your consent, Granada, 
I'd marry you today; 
With Cordoba for dowry, 
Sevilla for display." 
"I am a wife, King John, 
No widow, but a wife, 
The Moor who is my husband 
Loves me more than life." 


368 The Iberian Peninsula 


The good king had three daughters, 

All graceful and all fair, 

The youngest was Delgadina. 

"Now come, my Delgadina, 

For you must lie with me." 

"Neither the Lord of Heaven 

Nor our most sovereign Lady 

Wishes that I should lie 

With the father who begot me." 

Her father in his anger 

Locked her into a room, 

With nothing for her hunger 

But a little salted meat, 

With nothing for her thirst 

But the drip of a green orange. 

When it was morning she looked 

Out of a high window, 

Down in the garden her mother 

Sat in a golden chair. 

"My mother, because you are 

My mother, bring me water, 

I am dying of thirst, I want 

To give up my soul to God." 

"Be quiet, bitch of a daughter, 

Be quiet, you are to blame 

That for seven years I have known 

The shame of a bad marriage." 

On the next morning she looked 

From another high window, 

Down in the yard her sisters 

Were spinning out the silk. 

"My sisters, because you are 

My sisters, bring me water, 

I am dying of thirst, I want 

The Romancero 369 

To give up my soul to God." 

"If only we had a knife 

We would throw it in your face/' 

On the next morning she looked 

From another high window, 

Down in the court her brothers 

Were practicing with their spears. 

"My brothers, because you are 

My brothers, bring me water, 

I am dying of thirst, I want 

To give up my soul to God." 

"No, Delgadina, no, 

We cannot bring you water, 

For if vour father knew, 

Our punishment would be death." 

On the next morning she looked 

From another window, 

Down in the hall her father 

Was pacing to and fro. 

"My father, because you are 

My father, bring me water, 

I am dying of thirst, I want 

To give up my soul to God." 

"Yes, I will bring you water 

If you will do as I wish." 

"Yes, I will do as you wish." 

"Now run, my pageboys, run, 

Bring water to Delgadina: 

The first of you to arrive 

Shall have her hand in marriage, 

The last to arrive shall die." 

Some ran with silver pitchers, 

Some with pitchers of gold, 

While the church bells were ringing 

For Delgadina's soul. 

Wben the first page arrived, 

He found that she was dead, 

Around her bed a ring 

Of blessed angels stood, 

37° The Iberian Peninsula 

The bed of the king her father 
Was crowned with a ring of fiends. 


Moriana's Poison 
El veneno de Moriana 

At daybreak Don Alonso rises with the sun 

To call on friends and neighbors each and every one. 

At Moriana's gate he hitches up his roan. 

''Good tidings, Moriana." "Alonso, welcome home!" 

"Moriana, drink a toast — my wedding's Sunday noon." 

"By rights the bride, Alonso, is me, and me alone. 

But I'm not one for grudges and so I'll surely come, 

But first, to prove my friendship a glass of wine you'll down." 

Moriana, sly and crafty, goes inside her room 

To find her rod and pestle and grind the seeds of doom. 

Three corrosive sublimates, blood from four black toads, 

Viper eyes and scorpion stings, she mixes, stirs, and pours. 

"Drink this down, Alonso. Drink the good, fresh wine." 

"Drink first, Moriana, or else I must decline." 

Moriana lifts the goblet and purses tight her lips: 

Her teeth are close together so not a drop she sips. 

Alonso, hale and hearty, downs a gulp of his. 

"What is it, Moriana? What is it makes me swoon? 

I know the sun is shining but I can't see my roan." 

"Three corrosive sublimates, blood from four black toads, 

Viper eyes and scorpion stings, to make you writhe and moan." 

"Cure me, Moriana — I'll marry you today!" 

"It cannot be, Alonso, your heart has died away." 

"Pity my poor mother, weeping and bereft." 

"I've pitied mine, Alonso, since the day we met." 



The Romancero 371 

The Mistress of Bernal Frances 
La amiga de Bernal Frances 

At night I hug my pillow 

And lie in bed alone; 

Who goes there proudly knocking, 

Calling 'open" at my door? 

"Bernal Frances, my lady, 

Your love who serves you true; 

At night we share the covers, 

By day, the garden view/' 

She rose from linen sheets, 

A flowing robe she wore, 

With golden candelabra 

Downed the stairway to the door. 

When the door was but half open 

He blew the candle out. 

"Protect me, Holy Virgin, 

Protect me, good Saint Gil; 

Whoe'er put out my candle 

May put out my life." 

"Fear not, Catalina, 

Make no hue or cry, 

I killed a fellow fighting 

And justice seeks my hide." 

To her chamber in the tower 

She led him by the hand; 

In a silver chair she sat him, 

Backed in ivory, and then 

Bathed him all in sweet balm gentle 

His skin in rare perfume, 

Prepared a bed of roses, 

With gillyflowers festooned. 

"What ails you, Bernal Frances, 

Why sorrow at my side? 

Do you fear for justice? 

No sheriff enters here. 

37 2 The Iberian Peninsula 

Do you fear my servants? 

All are fast asleep." 

"I do not fear for justice, 

I seek it for myself 

Nor less do I fear servants 

Who sleep their honest sleep." 

"What is it, Bernal Frances? 

You never acted thus — 

In France you have a sweetheart 

Or heard bad news of me." 

"I have no loves in France, 

Another ne'er I served." 

"If you're thinking of my husband, 

He's far away from here." 

"Distance oft grows narrow 

For him who wants to come: 

Your wedded husband greets you, 

For I in truth am he. 

In token of my coming, 

A gown and gift I bear: 

A dress of finest scarlet, 

All crimson-lined to wear; 

A necklace stained incarnadine, 

That ladies never see, 

The necklace of my sword, 

Your pretty throat will sheathe. 

News will reach the Frenchman — 

He'll mourn you in despair." 


Ramon Llull 373 

Catalan Poets 


To You, Lady Virgin Santa Maria 
A vos, Dona Verge Santa Maria 

To you, Lady Virgin Santa Maria, 
I give my will that wills your love 
So much that were it not for you 
I would not want desire or love 
For every will has betterment 
Above all others that are not 
Enwilled to you, love's fountainhead: 
Who wills vou not, has naught of love. 

As my will enwills your mastery, 

I give to you my memory and mind: 

Else, Lady, what then should I do? 

And vou, Milady, I pray you, keep in mind 

The clergy, love and understand 

They journey off to Syria 

To preach, converting infidels 

And Christian men to peace. 

Many a man is proud to die 

For your Son, as people say, 

But few will go to preach His Word 

To infidels, and brave the sword. 



374 The Iberian Peninsula 

When the Star Appears at Daybreak 
Quart far Vestela en I'albor 

When the star appears at daybreak 
And flowers all adorn 
The fields with many colors 

And hope begins to dawn, 
I am garbed with happiness, 
With tenderness and confidence 

That dwells in lady Love; 
And then I ask to be confessed 
By her, and have my sins redressed 

And make amends 
To those who are the serving men 

Of Valor's Queen, 
And so I don't expect such help 

That to no sin 

I'll be impelled 
Since there be true confession. 



Alas! If I Had Married 
Lassal Mais m'agra valgut/ que fos maridada 

Alas! If I had married 
Or had a courtly lover — 
But I became a nun. 

A nun to my lasting sorrow 

And great the sin 

Of those who put me here. 

And those who put me in 

Great sorrow, 

May God's wrath do them in! 

Pere March 375 

For if I had ever known 
— But then I was a fool — 
Though they gave me all Montagut, 
I'd never have gone in. 



The Widow Wearing White or Saffron 
Viuda que fort color blanch ne saffra 

The widow wearing white or saffron, 
Powder or perfumes, will give and take 
And joke a lot, and have a mind to sell. 
And if she can, she'll get her price; 
If not, she'll go for nil : 
But since she plays the bargainer, 
She'll show her talents well; 
And so I really doubt she lacks 
In virtues straight from hell! 


Ladies I Like Well Dressed 
Dominant flatz ben arreada 

Ladies I like well dressed, 
And gentlemen well armed, 
And pretty hair well curled, 
And working sleeves well rolled, 
And horses stoutlv breasted, 
And bridles rash and bold 
To hold old ladies well. 

And I like to ride 
Across the busy plain 

376 The Iberian Peninsula 

And look at smoke and fires 
And enemies besieged 
Forced to keep watch 
And feel unsafe 
Outside the walls. 

And I like the sweetheart 
Built delicate and slim 
Providing that she's glad 
That I'm her sweetheart, too, 
And flirts and rolls her eyes 
To pay me for returning 
And when I ask her to. 

Here's what I like even better, 
A wise and prudent lord, 
One not served in vain, 
Frank and brave, but honest, 
Whose retinue is large 
For the opposite's too dull. 

And I like the wintertime 

Before the sun is up, 

When mass is said 

By a priest who's on his toes, 

A low mass, and not sung, 

Except on holy days 

To celebrate the feast. 



The Time Is Such That Each Brute Beast 
ho temps es tal que tot animal hrut 

The time is such that each brute beast 
Needs love, and finds a mate. 

Ausias March 377 

The fearless stag howls through the wood, 

His bellow judged a tender song; 

The magpie chats so loud and long 

That every creature's bound to join. 

The nightingale in doleful croon 

Sings: Where has my sweetheart gone? 

And if I grieve, then grief is right 

When I see lovers poor at love 

Or clumsy lovers pass for skilled 

Or see not what is wrong. 

And so I make a just complaint 

How Desamor beguiles my lady: 

For, unaware, she wounds her slave 

Not knowing how his love is steady. 

Unlike the man who lost his wealth 

And risked his all in hope of gain, 

I love you, and would fain be loved 

Deliberately, but I am not. 

Stark naked in my heavy cloak, 

I find that Love has pawned my Will : 

And that for which my Heart is ill 

Is as my Need, which is so much. 

Lady mid thistles, the stork hunts with the kite, 

The lapdog with the bounding rabbit; 

The world's a much too lively place 

While my frail breast sings Passion of the Palms! 


Where Is the Place My Thought May Find Repose? 
On es lo Hoc on ma pensa repose? 

Where is the place my thought may find repose? 

Where, I ask, may longing be content? 

I plumb the depths, and there I find 

No anchorage, no port where I would dare. 

What once from every tempest kept me safe 

378 The Iberian Peninsula 

Has turned on me, a cruel deserted shore: 
Abandoned lies the house where I was sure; 
Where I am now, the toil is great, and more. 

Where is that joy I bring to mind 
Of being loved by one who understood? 
All my will and hers could put no end 
To love, because its power was enough. 
All the signs that love makes understood 
I saw in her, nor will their work relent. 
Who can say his love reveals so much 
That he would feel no anguish at our plight? 

Now naught on earth is my defense: 

For me, all life has lost its joy: 

To friends, perhaps I write of grief 

Though time cannot repair 

The grief that wears my mind: 

For all I hear or see is grief, 

So much, that now I fear to think 

That grief itself may be defense. 

As love sets free the firmest heart 
To grant us hope of joy, 
I feel the world is in despair 
For, stripped of love, all joy's offense, 
God's weapon, which he made to thrust 
The body from its wicked star 
And longings, from the bitter trace 
Of pain, still indiscreetly veiled. 

Like that sage, who living out his life 
Right pleasantly, in art's pursuit, 
Was made to see his art's scant good, 
I know not where my mind should stray 
And see the gates of love are shut 
Nor can I say what course is best 
Or change my ways instead. 

Sant Jordi 379 

O Foolish Love, how wrong it is 
To risk one's love for virtue in a lady! 
Her quality and station make her good: 
But, truly, who can live that way forever? 



Below the Brow I Bear Your Lovely Countenance 
Sus lo front "port vostra bella semblanga 

Below the brow I bear your lovely countenance 
That night and day my body celebrates 
For gazing on that very lovely shape 
The imprint of your features shall remain 
Unchanged in me as death's unyielding form. 
And when I part entirely from this world 
Those who bear my body to the grave 
Upon my face shall contemplate your sign. 

As the child who sees the altarpiece 
And dwells upon the images of saints 
Cannot be swerved for purity of heart 
But revels in surrounding gold, 
So I, before the loving circle 
Of your body, by delights embowered, 
Do dwell upon it more than God, 
So great's the joy that pierces me! 

Thus prisoner of ardent love I'm bound 
Within my jail, as if within a coffer 
With lock secured, and all of me inside 
The place where all escape is but encounter. 
For so great and firm's the love I have for you 
That my heart, for fear, will never aught desist 
From loveliness, but firmly as a tower 
Love you alone, white dove! 

380 The Iberian Peninsula 

Peerless beauty, nobly you prevail! 

God made your lovely body loveliest of all, 

Gay and graceful, bright as precious stone, 

Amorous and lovely, more piercing than a spear 

For, grouped with others, I see you humble all 

In virtues, as the carbuncle that glows 

Surpassing every stone 

As the hawk outshines the lanner! 

My love for you thus spears me from all sides 

For no man's love was ever so sincere : 

So strong a love as that which rends my soul 

Was never found in human mind or breast. 

I am more vexed than Aristotle 

By love that burns, unleashing every sense: 

And like the good monk, who never left his cell, 

I stray from you no more than the finger from the nail. 

Oh graceful body, pure of fraud and crime, 
Have pity on me, fair and regal lady, 
And do not let me perish of your love 
For I love you more than anyone affirms 
And beg you, tree of all good fruits 
Wherein great valor's overcast, 
Retain me in your queenly room 
For I am yours until I die. 

Rich ruby, now your crest adorns 
The highest worldly register 
For kindliness and good reborn 
In you, more than Penthesilea. 



Sant Jordi 381 

Vexation, Enemy of Youth 

Enuig, enemich de jovent 

Vexation, enemy of youth 
And foe of thought 

You vex me so 

That nothing makes me glad 
You often bring such grief 
I feel my heart will burst 

Out of its lodgings. 
In the first place, I am vexed 
With the world, because it sits 
And lets men get away with 

Frightful acts. 

So I am vexed 

With the world 

Whichever way 

I turn. 

Finally, I see 

That absolutely nothing 

Is loyal or true 
But only wrong or wretched. 

And so I'm vexed with love 
For the way that it's abused 
And with all the foolish boasters 

Who never did a thing. 
Others squawk of love 
Whose hearts ne'er felt its pangs 

Or even understood it. 
And I deem it a great vexation 
When I'm with her I love 
To keep my languor silent 

Because someone is there. 

Another far worse 

(And well I know) 

Is waiting long, 

382 The Iberian Peninsula 

And I'm vexed by the clumsy dolt 
Who tries too hard 
To please, and never does. 

Another thing that irks me: 
When I am speaking somewhere 
And someone interrupts me 

Just as I make my point. 
Another, when I make a witty crack 
And no one can see why 

Which makes me mad 

Because I try 
To tell it to a numbskull 
WT10 to everything says no. 
Stubborn enemies 

Bring great vexation 

And irk me, too. 

But it vexes me more 

When someone I dislike 

In spite of me 

Tags onto me 
Which really eats my heart. 

Then, too, it vexes me 
To snooze at night between 
Two in a crowded bed 
And more so 
When I'm dressed 

And shod and squeezed; 
But I'm more vexed and irked by sleepy loafers 

And the cold. 
For I'm vexed by the churlish fool 
Who, without my asking, 
Butts in when I want to write 
A secret letter, dealing with my affairs; 

By children crying 

By sleeping on a board 

By being indisposed 

At sundown, alone with a woman; 

Sant Jordi 383 

When I'm locked in; 

Or when my charger 

Loses his hobnails in a lonely gulch. 

I wish to complain of other vexations 

That have made my heart grow old: 

Of piggish men 

Who have everything to say 

And don't believe a thing; 

Of sermons preached by fools; 

Of sleeping with a filthy woman 

When I have to; 
Of riding a palfrey 

That shuffles, bumps, and lurches; 

Of barking dogs at night; 

Of dealing with a miser 

[Line missing in manuscript] 

Of the sun in June 
Of my helmet when Lm fighting 
And then again 
Of the lady who spreads 
Her favors wide, casting off all shame. 

I am also vexed as death 

When I'm stranded out at sea 

Or else hemmed in and comfortless 

When I feel sick; 
Wrien I hear songs out of tune 
Or in winter, when I go down 

The gully in a storm; 

When there's a howling wind; 

When I travel on sandy ground; 

WTien there's smoke without a fire at an inn; 

And by one who ambles down 

The open road 

And then is lost; 

By anyone who wakes me up 

Too suddenly from sleep; 

384 The Iberian Peninsula 

By a man who somehow 
Is of my class 
And in an instant 
Takes a shine to me, and never lets me go. 

Also, I'm vexed when I shoot dice 
And, just my luck, some blockhead 
Sits near me and tells me 

Something vexing; 
When I travel long in summer; 
Or caTry an angry goshawk on my wrist 

And I am clawed; 
When I sleep with a man who coughs; 
Or a quarrelsome old man; 

And by mosquitoes 

When at night 

I'm sound asleep; 

By a sick man 

Who complains too much; 

By a hard lance; 

By hard bread 

Grown hard too long; 
Or by living inside bad walls. 

Oh, what vexations Fve put up with 
So many, that now I have lost count! 
But I'm very vexed by a shiftless, 

Stupid, foolish man; 
With cloth that is threadbare; 
With mud, at night, when it drizzles 

And I slip; 
With someone who says No when I ask him; 
When I often meet a creditor; 
With dried up, squalid women; 

With long advice 

I never asked for; 

With sleeping alone; 

With hearing only 

[Line missing in manuscript] 

Sant Jordi 385 

With a woman who shows 
Lack of judgment 
And a weak man who shakes his fists. 

Of all the vexations Fve mentioned 

I know of none so stark 

As poverty, which strikes fear 

Into young and old alike 
And when Fortune has wounded with its sword 

And raises some not worth a fig, 
And strikes down and makes a shambles 
Of pure gold and sterling men, 

It keeps no law 

Or right or service 

Which is why we must 

Praise God 

Who owes us nothing, 

And thus I end 

My ballad is complete 
Let each man turn his will to where it leads him. 


I Have No Liking for One Who in 

All Things Is Not 
No m'asalt d'om qu'en tots afars no sia 

I have no liking for one who in all things is not 

Loyal and pure, like a finely-balanced scale. 

I have no liking for one who five days out of seven 

Lies in his words, and wants company of lovers. 

I have no liking for one who picks a feather or a straw 

From my garments, or brags of battle; 

I have no liking for a man without shame, 

For he gluts his craw with every food, like a stork. 




The Arabic Poets 

The Arabs developed a highly artistic poetry in quantitative 
meters as early as the end of the fifth century a.d. Descriptions 
of nature, camels, desert wanderings, praise of self and tribe 
abound. After Mohammed's death, poetry suffered a setback; it 
revived again under the Ommayads (661-750 a.d.) in Syria and 
especially in Mesopotamia. Under the Abbasids (750-1258 a.d.) 
a new poetry of drinking- and hunting-songs arose in the urban 
centers of Iraq, and after the fall of the Caliphate, the poetry 
flourished in the courts of the minor princes, especially at 
Aleppo. From the tenth century on, short forms gained increas- 
ing favor, side by side with poems in praise of princes, Ana- 
creontic love and wine songs, and poetic descriptions of objects, 
landscapes, and situations. Spanish Arabic poetry derives from 
the Oriental, and in it the foregoing changes are reflected. The 
development in Spain of an Arabic poetry worthy of the name 
roughly coincides with the last two hundred years of the golden 
age of Arabic culture (eighth to eleventh centuries) which saw 
the assimilation of Hellenistic and Persian culture, and es- 
pecially of Persian literary influence. 

In Arabic poetry, lines are usually end-stopped and detach- 
able from their context. Thus it is no surprise that Ibn Sa'id's 
anthology (compiled in 1243) consists mainly of metaphorical 
or descriptive fragments. The best-known form that flowered in 
Arabic Spain during the eleventh century, called jarchas and 
composed by Arabs and Jews, were short bi-lingual songs. 
Longer poems, called muwassahas, contained a finida or refrain 
in Spanish. In the jarchas are to be found the earliest lyrical 
blossoms of the Iberian peninsula. Because of the scarcity of 
biographical material, the Arabic poets are not listed here in- 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 387 

The Hebrew Poets 

Another interesting contribution to the poetry of the Iberian 
peninsula came from Jewish writers who composed their lyrics 
in Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish. The two outstanding figures 
of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were Gabirol and Halevi. 

Solomon ibn gabirol, also known as Avicebron, 
(102 1 -1 058), the "J ew i sn Plato" and "most original philosoph- 
ical writer among Jews and Arabs/' derived from a family from 
Cordova which was forced to move to Malaga during a period 
of wars. While still very young, Gabirol became the protege of 
Yequeliel Ibn Hazan, then an extremely influential personage 
in the service of the Tuyibi rulers of Saragossa. In that city 
Gabirol continued his philosophical studies and wrote poems 
in Hebrew based, to a large extent, on the Hispano-Arabic 
themes then in vogue: friendship, spring, rural life. When 
dealing with the ever recurrent motif of wine and women, he 
expressed himself with restraint. Gabirol also initiated metrical 
and linguistic innovations that revitalized Hebrew verse. His 
hymns are still sung in the synagogues of the world. 

judah halevi (c. 1078-1140), born in Tudela, traveled 
at an early age to the centers of intense literary activity: Gran- 
ada, Cordova, Seville, attaining fame for his power of im- 
provisation and for his originality in metrical experimentation. 
He composed secular and liturgical poems, which judiciously 
combined Biblical and Arabic influences. Deeply religious, he 
succumbed late in life to an irresistible urge to see the Holy 
Land. According to tradition, he was ridden down and slain 
by an Arab horseman outside the gates of Jerusalem. He is 
best known among Jews for his poignant Ode to Zion, a model 
for such utterances down through the ages. 

The Galician-Portuguese Poets 

Between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, there flour- 
ished in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula an extremely 

388 The Iberian Peninsula 

rich lyrical poetry in the language spoken in Galicia and Portu- 
gal. The 2,000 poems extant fall predominantly into four cate- 
gories: some seven hundred love songs (cantigas d'amor*) — a 
substantial number have been attributed to King Dinis of Por- 
tugal — which are, ostensibly, imitations of Provencal cansos; folk 
poems, vaguely linked with the Arabo-Andalusian tradition, 
wherein a young woman tells her mother about the "amigo," 
with whom she has fallen in love — hence, they are called 
cantigas d'amigo; religious songs, in praise of the Virgin Mary; 
coarse, abusive songs, corresponding to the Provencal sirventes: 
cantigas d'escarnh, or veiled attacks — often so veiled that they 
are difficult to decipher — against individuals or institutions; and 
cantigas de maldezir, or vitriolic attacks against specific persons, 
mentioned by name — and, it must be added, in this group are 
to be found some of the most obscene poems ever written. 

The finest work of the Galician-Portuguese was done either 
in the court of Alfonso X (Alfonso the Wise of Castile) or in 
that of King Dinis of Portugal, but biographical material about 
the poets is extremely scarce. 

Alfonso x el Sabio [Alfonso the Wise] (1 221-1284), Cas- 
tilian king, scholar, and promoter of science and literature, 
also wrote in Galician Cantigas de Santa Maria and about 
thirty cantigas d'amor and maldezir. 

codax, martin (A. 1250), a jogral (i.e., jongleur), whose 
seven cantigas d'amigo refer to Vigo and the sea and are of 
unusual interest, since their musical notation has been found. 

dinis [King Dinis, also known as Dom Dinis] (1261-1325) 
King of Portugal, founder of first Portuguese university and 
Portugal's greatest medieval poet, noted for his lovely cantigas 
d'amigo. Though a cultivator of the Provencal type of lyric, 
his taste for the indigenous parallelistic songs indicates that he 
enjoyed most of the popular songs sung by the jograis at his 

Fernandez, roi (Xlllth century), priest and contem- 
porary of Alfonso the Wise (q.v.); wrote cantigas d'amor and 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 389 

d'amigo, and is noted for his passionate sea melody, which, 
even as it upbraids the sea, is filled with the sea's music and 

FERNANDEZ DE TURNEOL, NUNO (fl. 1 225), who was 

perhaps a knight and cultivated all the various types of lyrics, 
is remembered especially for his alba or dawn-song, a rarity in 
the Portuguese poetry of his day. 

guilhade, joan de (XHIth century) was a back- 
country esquire who led a soldier's life, and is best known for 
the technical virtuosity and lively wit of his cantigas d'amigo 
and satiric poems. 

LOPES DE BAIAN, AFONSO (fl. I253-I278), a tWVador 

of the highest nobility, he held the position of governor and 
wrote numerous cantigas. 

macias (fl. 1 360-1 390), a Galician trovador, whose name 
recurs in romantic legends because he was slain by the jealous 
husband of his mistress. 

meogo or moogo, pero [Peter the Monk] (fl. 1250), 
probably a converted Jew, left us nine lovely cantigas d'amigo. 

nunes, airas (c. 1175-1250), probably a priest at the 
court of Alfonso the Wise (q.v.), also a brilliant and original 
jogral. His beautiful sonnet-like "The Summertime Delights 
Me," included here, is one of the few cantigas in which nature 
is described; he wrote songs in Provencal, and his rich lyrical 
vein seems to foreshadow the doice stil novo, two centuries be- 
fore its arrival in Portugal. 

roiz de castelo-branco, joao (late XHIth cen- 
tury), best known for his Song of Parting, wrote a letter in 
verse to a friend in Lisbon, in which he said that after living at 
court he had retired to his estate at Beira, where he felt happy 
and did not miss palace life. 

390 The Iberian Peninsula 

zorro, joan (fl. 1250), a humble court jogral, known as 
"Foxy John," during the reign of Afonso III, was one of the 
earliest singers of Lisbon. His version of the dance-song (bai- 
lada), clearly of popular origin, received more literary, but less 
successful, treatment from Airas Nunes (q.v.). 

The Castilian Poets 


The Barbs of Mingo Revulgo (Las coplas de Mingo Revulgo, 
1464), an allegorical dialogue between two shepherds satirizing 
the political and social scene during the reign of Enrique IV. 
Mingo Revulgo represents the people; Gil Arribato, the prophet; 
Enrique's kingdom, a herd abandoned by its shepherds to the 
ravenously powerful. 

Dispute of Elena and Maria (Disputa de Elena y Maria 7 
XHIth century) consists of 402 lines in Leonese dialect, in 
predominantly octosyllabic, irregular versification, treating a 
subject much in vogue in Latin and French — who is to be 
preferred as a lover: an abbot (or lettered man) or a knight 
(or man of arms). 

The Cancionero is the body of anonymous medieval songs; 
the earliest compilation, by King Dinis of Portugal (q.v.), 
dates back to the thirteenth century; in Castilian there were 
several compilations: among the earliest, the Cancionero de 
Baena, containing courtly lyrics, and the Cancionero de Stuniga, 
containing popular ones. 

The Romancero is the body of romances or ballads which 
became popular throughout Spain after the twelfth century. 
Some claim that they derived from the epics, that they were 
brief elaborations of crucial moments. However this may be, 
the form took root in Spain and is still alive. The typical ro- 
mance verse has eight syllables and penultimate stress; the form 
of the stanzas varies, and in a later phase of development the 
quatrain became the norm. The romances have been classified 
according to theme: the Breton cycle (dealing with King 
Arthur and the Round Table and the fabulous world of Lance- 
lot, Tristan and the Holy Grail); the Carolingian cycle (high- 
lighting Charlemagne and his twelve Peers and other Peers 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 391 

invented by the jongleurs); historical ballads about the Spanish 
heroes and their deeds of arms; frontier or border ballads, con- 
cerned with the conflicts between Moors and Christians; and 
fictional or lyrical ballads, borrowed from sundry myths or 
newly invented by the anonymous poets. 

berceo, gonzalo de (1195-1246), born in the town 
of Berceo, diocese of Calahorra, studied in the Benedictine mon- 
astery of San Millan de la Cogolla in Rioja. A "monastery- 
bred priest but not a monk," Berceo is the first Spanish poet 
known by name, an erudite writer affecting simplicity, con- 
cealing a sense of humor beneath a grave manner. He chose 
the vernacular for his biographies of local saints; his poems 
reveal a feeling for nature, and pathos and the comic spirit 
seem to fuse with his deep religious spirit. 

HURTADO DE MENDOZA, D I E G O (c. I 364-1404), Ad- 
miral of Castile, was one of the first noblemen to write lyrics 
in the Provencal tradition. Seven of his poems have been pre- 
served, he is remembered chiefly for the cosante included here, 
technically of Galician-Portuguese origin, comprising two-lined 
stanzas, each with an invariable single-line refrain, the whole 
of it in charmingly interlacing phraseology. Don Diego was 
the father of the exquisite Marques de Santillana (q.v.). 


lorenzo, juan (fl. 1250), a native of Astorga, wrote 
a 10,000-line erudite epic recounting the legendary enterprises 
of Alexander the Great. Although the poet unquestionably 
possessed encyclopedic knowledge, he also had a rich and color- 
ful imagination. In his Libro de Alexandre he mingles allegori- 
cal inventiveness with a truculent, anachronistic history: Meri- 
mee did not exaggerate when he considered it a blend of Dante, 
Sinbad the Sailor, and Jules Verne. 

manrique, jorge (c. 1440-1478), born at Paredes de 
las Navas and related to the Marques de Santillana (q.v.), 
his great-uncle, and other lofty personages, immortalized his 

392 The Iberian Peninsula 

name through his elegy on the death of his father, don Rodrigo 
Manrique, Grand Master of the Military Order of Santiago. 
Both father and son were killed in action fighting for their 
king. Although the elegy is not original — death and life's vani- 
ties being an ever recurring theme in medieval Europe (cf. the 
danse macabre, and the poems of Sanchez Calavera [q.v.], 
and Villon [q.v.], included in this anthology) — Manrique suc- 
ceeded in endowing it with unforgettable pathos and musicality. 

men a, juan de (1411-1456), the son of a Cordovan 
official, was educated at Salamanca and Rome. During his 
Italian sojourn he saturated himself in the Renaissance spirit. 
In his long allegorical poem Laberinto de Fortuna (1444), the 
influence not only of Ovid and Lucan but also of Dante is 
readily discernible. His Mourning of the Mother of Lorenzo 
Ddvalos displays lyrical intensity and suggests new poetical 
horizons, departing as it does from the narrow confines of the 
jongleurs as well as the repetitious imitations of the Provencal 

ruiz, juan (c. 1 283-1 350), the greatest poet of medieval 
Spain, was Archpriest of Hita, a town near Guadalajara. Sent 
to prison by order of the Archbishop of Toledo, probably for 
his unsaintly conduct and licentious writings, he wrote c. 1330 
the Spanish masterpiece Libro de Buen Amor, which, though 
supposedly religious in intention, glorifies the life of the senses 
and satirizes human frailty. The Libro de Buen Amor is a 
colorful panorama of Spanish medieval life. 

SANCHEZ CALAVERA, FERRAN(d. I450), also known, 

WTongly, as Sanchez Talavera, was a Master of the Order of 
Calatrava who left us an elegy Qdecir) on the death of Admiral 
Ruy Diaz de Mendoza, the King's chief majordomo. The deep 
note, so eloquent and moving, has been considered precursory 
and comparable to Jorge Manrique's Coplas (q.v.). Sanchez 
Calavera's poem is written in octavas of anapaestic type Carte 
mayor), previously used by Juan de Mena (q.v.). 

santillana, marques d e ( 1 398-1458), the courtier 
and warrior Inigo Lopez de Mendoza, was born in Carrion de 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 393 

los Condes, near Burgos, into a noble family of poets and 
statesmen: his father, the Admiral of Castile, Hurtado de Men- 
doza (q.v.), penned the lovely cosante included here. Conscious 
of Dante and Petrarch, Santillana's poetry seems to combine 
traditional forms with the new Italian currents. However, 
rather than his didactic and allegorical poetrv, which bulks so 
imposingly in the totality of his work, it is the delicate canci- 
ones, villancicos and hill songs that have made him famous. 

sem tob or santob (c, 1290-1369), Rabbi of Carrion 
de los Condes, who wrote both in Spanish and Hebrew, made 
his name famous with his Proverbios Morales (c. 1350), some 
400 quatrains of gnomic verses, Biblical in phrasing and didac- 
tic in style, dedicated to Peter the Cruel of Castile and Chancel- 
lor Pero Lopez de Ayala (1322- 1407), also a poet and a leading 
political figure. Each of the quatrains contains a moral, ex- 
pressed often in intense lyrical phrasing, delicate and subtly 

The Catalans 

llull, ramon, more universally known as Rahnundo 
Lulio or Lully (c. 1233-13 15), was born in Palma de Mallorca, 
served in his youth as page of Jaime I the Conqueror, and then 
wrote love songs. At the age of thirty, after the birth of his 
two children, he changed the course of his dissolute life, became 
converted and devoted his life to penitence and meditation. 
He broke his family ties and set out on long pilgrimages as a 
beggar, visiting Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and the Holy 
Land, and then studied in the outstanding universities of 
Europe. In his eighties he was stoned to death by an angry 
mob in Tunis. He was a prolific writer — more than 200 works 
survive — and excelled for his allegorical novels and mystical 
works. His mysticism also pervades his lyrics. His Cant de 
Ramon as well as his Desconhort, depicting his spiritual crisis 
and conversion, are essentially personal utterances. The dra- 
matic and majestic Plant de nostra dona Santa Maria is com- 
parable in style to the laudes of Jacopone da Todi (q.v.) 

394 The Iberian Peninsula 

march, ausias (1397-1459), the greatest poet in Cata- 
lan, Valencian nobleman and soldier, held a prominent position 
in the court of Alfonso the Magnanimous and owned con- 
siderable lands. He fought in Italy and retired at the age of 
thirty to Valencia, serving then as Chief Falconer to the King. 
His poetry excels in psychological depth and metaphysical an- 
guish; he uses Provencal metres, and was especially influenced 
by Arnaut Daniel and to some extent by Dante and Petrarch. 

march, pere (c. 1338-1413), Valencian narrative and 
lyric poet possessed of strong ethical concern. Of his poems 
included here, one deals with a flirtatious widow and the other 
imitates the Provencal school, especially the Monk of Mon- 
taudun (q.v.), for it is a plazer, enumerating all the things and 
actions which he found pleasant. His espargas, couched in free 
verse, are characterized by their simplicity, humor, and sensuous 

sant jordi, jordi d e (c. 1 399- 1 430), Valencian aristo- 
crat in the service of Alfonso the Magnanimous, took part in 
numerous military engagements in Italy and the Mediterranean. 
In 1423 he was captured and held prisoner by the condottiere 
Francesco Sforza. A delicate poet, who put his verse to music 
himself, he underwent both Provencal and Petrarchan influ- 
ences. In his charming Enuigs, such as "I Have No Liking 
for One Who in All Things Is Not," he imitates the Monk of 
Montaudun (q.v.). His unrhymed Stramps, "Below the Brow 
I Bear Your Lovely Countenance," is perhaps his finest single 
work, a veritable milestone in the development of Catalan 



The Lay of Hildebrand (c. 800) 

Magic Spells (from Merseburg, c. 700) 

Ruth Yorck and 
Go out, Worm, with Nine Little Worms 

Geh aus, \Vurm, mit neuen Wiirmlein 
Phol and Wotan Were Riding in the Forest 

Phol ende Uuodan vuorun zi holza 
Thou Art Mine, I Am Thine (c. 1050) 

Du hist min, ich bin din 
Stetit puella 

Stetit puella 
Never the Summer Seemed to Me 

Ich gesach den sumer nie 
Floret Silva Undique 

Floret silva undique 
If the World Were Mine 

Waer diu werlt alliu min Ruth Yorck and 
Song for the Virgin Mary 

Mary Magdalene's Song 

Lied der Maria Magdalena Ruth Yorck and 

Translated by 
Herman Salinger 
Kenward Elmslie 

Ruth Yorck and 

Elizabeth Closs 

Elizabeth Closs 

Elizabeth Closs 

Elizabeth Closs 

Kenward Elmslie 

Kenward Elmslie 

Kenward Elmslie 




Der von Kurenberg (c. 11 50-1 160) 
The Falcon 4^9 

Falkenlied Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

396 Germany 

I Stood on a Battlement the Late Eve Darkened 410 

Ich stuont mir nehtint spate an einer zinnen 

Margaret F. Richey 

Der Burggrave von Regensburg (c. i 147) 
All Winter I Lay Alone until a Lady Brought Me Solace 41 1 

Ich lac den winter einej wol troste mich ein wip 

Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

Spervogel (c. i i 70) 
He Who Asks a Wolf to Dine Soon Has Cause to Wail 412 

Swer den wolf ze huse ladet der nimmt sin schaden 

Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

Do You Know What the Hedgehog Said? 412 

Weistu, wie der igel sprach? 

Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 


On the Linden Overhead a Bird Was Caroling Its Lay 4*3 

Uf der linden ohene da sane ein kleinez vogellin 

Margaret F. Richey 

A Lady Stood Alone 414 

Ez stuont ein frouwe alleine Margaret F. Richey 

Sleepest Thou Yet, My Sweeting? 4 X 4 

Slafest du, friedel ziere? Margaret F. Richey 

Friedrich von Hausen (c. i i 50-1 i 90) 
My Heart and Body Wish to Take Their Leave 415 

Min herze und min lip diu wellent scheiden 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

In My Dream I Saw a Woman 4 J 6 

In minen troume ich sach Margaret F. Richey 

If I Might Live to See the Day 416 

Geleht ich noch die liehen zit Margaret F. Richey 

Reinmar von Hagenau, der Alte 
(c. 1155-1210) 
I Think That Love Will Come My Way 417 

Ich wan nur liehe geschehen wil 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

You Say, the Summer Is Here Now 4*8 

Sie jehent, der sumer der si hie 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

One Thing They Say Displeases Me 419 

Ein rede der liute tuot mir we Margaret F. Richey 

Germany 397 

The Day on Which I Took the Cross 4*9 

Des tages do ich daz kriuze nam Margaret F. Richey 

Albrecht von Johansdorf (fi. 1197) 
If I Saw One Who Could Say He Was Come from Her 420 

Sach ich iemen der jaehe er woere von ir komen 

Margaret F. Richey 

This I Know, How Love Begins to Be 4 21 

Wie sich minne hebt, daz wiz ich wol Margaret F. Richey 

I Found without a Guard 4 22 

Ich vant si dne huote Gillian Barker and Kenneth Barker 

Heinrich von Morungen (d. 1222) 
On the Heath on a Morning 4 2 3 

Ich hort uf der heide J. B. Leishman 

Ah Me, Shall I No Longer See 4 2 4 

Owe, sol aher mir iemer me J. B. Leishman 

Torturing Glimpses and Passions Unruly 4 2 5 

Leitliche hlicke und grozliche riuwe J. B. Leishman 

Lady, Wilt Thou Heal My Smart? 426 

Vrouwe, wilt du mich genern Herman Salinger 

Many a Man Has Been Bewitched by an Elf 4 2 7 

Von den elhen wirt entsen vil manic man 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

She Has Wounded Me Right Through My Heart 4 2 8 

Si hot mich verwunt reht oldwich mine sele 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Saw You the Ladies 4 2 9 

Sach ieman die frouwen Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Wolfram von Eschenbach (c. 1170-1217) 
A Lady at the Watchman's Song Perceived 43° 

Den morgenhlic hi wahters sange erkos Charles E. Passage 
It Has Thrust Its Talons Through the Morning Clouds 431 

Sine kldwen durch die wolken sint geslagen Charles E. Passage 
The Lament for the Love of Heroes 43 2 

Der helden minne ir Mage Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 
Bursting Leaves, Flowers Opening 43 3. 

Ursprinc hluomen, loup uz dringen 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

From Titurel (stanzas 1 17-120) 

I Have These Many Evenings Watched for My Beloved 434 

Ich hdn nach liehem vriunde vil dhende al min schouwen 

Charles E. Passage 

398 Germany 

Walther von der Vogelweide 
(c. 1170-1230) 
Under the Lime Tree 435 

Under der linden Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Where Have They Vanished All My Years! 436 

O weh, vote sind entschwunden alle meine Jahr! 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Children Won't Do What They Ought 438 

Nieman kan unit gerten Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

1 Sat Cross-Legged upon a Stone 439 

Ich saz uf eime steine Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Whoso, Lord God, Being Bold to Say 44° 

Swe one vorhte, herre got Margaret F. Richey 

Winter Has Done Us Great Harm Everywhere 44° 

Uns hat der winter geschadet iiber al Margaret F. Richey 

Lady World, You Tell the Devil 441 

Fro Welt, ir suit dem wirte sagen 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Who Slays the Lion? Who Slays the Giant? 442 

VJer sleht den lewen, wer sleht den risen? 

Gillian Barker and Kenneth Gee 

Neidhart von Reuental (c. i i 80-1 250) 
And If Some Place I Have a Home 443 

Und han ich indert heime Margaret F. Richey 

I Never Saw the Field 443 

Ine gesach die heide nie haz gestalt Margaret F. Richey 

The Season's Here! 445 

Diu zit ist hie Margaret F. Richey 

Ulrich von Lichtenstein (c. i 200-1 275) 
Among Sweet Tones in Forest Bowers 446 

In dem walde siieze doene Kenneth Oliver 

Mechthild von Magdeburg (c. 1 207-1 285) 
Lord 'Tis Said That from the World 447 

Herre, es heizzt mins herzen lust Mabel Cotterell 

Most Gladly Would I Die of Love 448 

Ich stiirhe gem aus Minne R. G. L. Barrett 

Ails a Human Heart 448 

Wie der Liebeswunde gesunde R. G. L. Barrett 

Germany 399 

Dearest Love of God, I Pray Thee, Evermore Enfold My Soul 448 
Eia, Hebe Gottesminne R. G. L. Barrett 

Der Wilde Alexander (late XIHth century) 
Years Back When We Were Children 449 

Hie vox do wir hinder waxen Robert Lowell 

Johannes Tauler (c. 1300-1371) 
There Comes a Ship All Laden 45° 

Es kumpt ein schiff geladen Mabel Cotterell 

Hans Rosenplut (XVth century) 
He Who Scrubs a Raven White 45 1 

Wer baden wil ein Raben weiss 

Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

Anonymous (XVth century) 
Nuns' Drinking Song 452 

Trienklied der Nonnen Ruth Yorck and Kenward Elmslie 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 453 



The Lay of Hildebrand 

I heard it told 

that challengers singly met: 

Hildebrand and Hadubrand between two hosts. 

Son and father they; saw to their armor; 

made fast their mail-shirts; girded their swords on, 

over the rings, to ride to such striving. 

Hildebrand first spoke; higher in years he, 

master of men, measured his words, 

first asked wisely, who his father was, 

prince of the people 

"or of what clan thou art. 

If thou but tellst me this, well I shall wot the rest. 

Lad, in the lands of kings, few are unknown to me." 

Hadubrand, he spoke — Hildebrand's son: 

"This our folk told me, 

old folk that were there before, 

that Hildebrand was my father, my name is Hadubrand. 

Eastwards he fared once, fleeing from Odoacer 

thence with Theodoric and all his thanes. 

He left in his lands: his lady, his lad, 

home in his house, a beardless boy. 

Left son and heir, riding to eastward, 

for that Theodoric longed so to have him 

stand at his side, that was a friendless man. 

He was to Odoacer boundless in ill-will, 

and was of his thanes all Theodoric's dearest. 

He rode at the horde's head; loved all too well fighting. 

Dear he was to daring men. 

Nor do I hope have he is alive now. . . . 

Witness is God on High up in the Heavens 

Thou never yet hast stood up to one like him, 

of such a lineage . . ." 

Anonymous 401 

He wound from his arm the winding bands: 

gold worked for kaisers e'en as die king gave him. 

The lord of the Huns spake: "This gift I give you." 

Hadubrand answered, Hildebrand's son: 

'With spear and gear such gifts should be greeted 

point against point. 

Thou art, old Hun, monstrous sly, 

wooest with words me, wouldst spend thy spear on me. 

Art such an ancient man, yet so full of guile thou. 

They told me who plow the sea 

west o'er the world's waves: war took him away. 

Dead is Hildebrand, Herbrand's son. 

Well do I see by thy fine trappings 

that thou at home hast a good lord and master, 

no outcast thou that ridest and fleest." 

Hildebrand answered, Herbrand's son: 

<r Verily, wills it God, woeful our fate's way. 

Abroad I've dwelt summers and winters full sixty, 

since I was chosen one of the fighters: 

Whom no man's weapon ever laid low, 

Now shall my own son's brand best me, 

blade bore through me or I bring his blood-death. 

Yet if thy zeal be strong, canst thou today gain 

armor and arms of this ancient and aged man, 

booty for boldness, if right thou hast any. 

He would be the most craven of cowards from eastward 

who turned away one like thee thirsting for fight. 

The two-man fight, try it who must, 

See which today must leave empty his armor 

or both our byrnies be his alone." 

They let first of all ash-spears whirr 

in sharp showers — stood in the shields fast. 

Then closed in together, splitting the shield's edge, 

hewing harm into the heavy circles, 

till shields were but shards, worn with their weapons. 



402 Germany 

Magic Spells 

Go out, Worm, with Nine Little Worms 

Geh aus } Wurm, mit neuen Wiirmlein 

Go out, worm, with nine little worms, 
Out of the marrow into the bone, 
Out of the bone into the flesh, 
Out of the flesh into the skin, 
Out of the skin into the arrow, 
So be it. 


Phol and Wotan Were Riding in the Forest 
Phol ende Uuodan vuorun zi holza 

Phol and Wotan were riding in the forest. 
There the horse of Baldur twisted his foot. 
Sinthgunt cast a spell, 
The sister of Sunna, 
Then Freya cast a spell, 
The sister of Uclla, 
Then Wotan cast a spell, 
As only he could cast a spell : 

Be it twisted bone 

Be it twisted blood 

Be it twisted joint 

Bone to bone, 

Blood to blood, 

Joint to limt) — 

Let them be glued together. 



Anonymous 403 

Thou Art Mine, I Am Thine 

Du hist min, ich bin din 

Thou art mine, I am thine; 

Certain be, in this heart of mine 

Locked thou art, 

Here within; 

Lost for ever is the little key: 

Herein must thou always be. 


Stetit Puella 
Stetit fuella 

Stetit puella 
rufa tunica: 
si quis earn tetigit, 
tunica crepuit eia. 

Stetit puella, 
tanquam rosula 
facie splenduit, 
et os ejus floruit eia. 

Stetit puella 
by a tree, 
scripsit amorem 
on the leaves 

There came Venus at once, 
caritatem magnam, 
great was the love 
she offered her leman. 


404 Germany 

Never the Summer Seemed to Me 
Ich gesach den sumer nie 

Never the summer seemed to me 
more gloriously fair than now. 
With many blossoms beautiful 
The meadow richly decks itself. 
Field and wood is full of song, 
The birds are singing the season long. 


Floret Silva Undique 
Floret silva undique 

Floret silva undique, 
For my lover I pine away. 
The forest burgeons everywhere, 
Where bides my lover so long? 
Alas, he has ridden o'er the lea 
Who will love me? Woe is me. 


If the World Were Mine 

Waer diu werlt alliu min 

If the world were mine 
From the ocean to the Rhine, 
I'd renounce it without qualms 
If the Queen of England 1 
Were lying in my arms. 


1 The Queen of England referred to is probably Mathilda de Poitou, who 
married Henry the Lion in 1 168. 

Anonymous 405 

Song for the Virgin Mary 1 

0, into the earth 
Aaron set a rod, 
Which then bore almonds, 
A most noble seed, 
You brought forth their sweet taste, 
Mother, without a man's embrace. 
Sancta Maria. 

In the dense undergrowth 

Moses saw a fire. 

The branches were not burning, 

Above he saw the flame, 

Blazing brilliantly, 

Proof of your purity. 

Sancta Maria. 

Gideon, leader of Israel, 
Spread out a lambskin 
So the dew of heaven 
Would rain upon the wool. 
Thus you remained chaste 
While becoming fruitful. 
Sancta Maria. 

Sea-star, red dawn, 
Soil never ploughed, 
There a flower grows, 
Bright and beautiful, 
She stands among the others, 
A lily among thorns. 

Sancta Maria. 

From a song sequence written at the monastery at Melk. Donau. 

406 Germany 

A fishing line was braided 
At the time you were born. 
Involving all your folk. 
The hook was God's own will, 
And strangled Death to death 
Which was concealed from you. 
Sancta Maria. 

Isaiah the wise seer, 
He has predicted you. 
He said from Jesse's root 
A slender branch would sprout, 
Blooming to a flower. 
He meant you and your child. 
Sancta Maria. 

They belong to each other, 
Heaven and earth together, 
Like the ox and the ass 
Who at once praised the Child. 
And so your womb became 
A cradle for the lamb. 

Sancta Maria. 

You gave birth to the Child of God 
Who henceforth released us all 
With his holy blood 
From eternal suffering. 
He shall be forever praised. 
You have brought us countless joys. 
Sancta Maria. 

Locked portal, 
Open to God's word, 
Overflowing honeycomb 
Laden with sweetness, 
You are without gall, 

Anonymous 407 

Like the turtledove. 

Sancta Maria. 

Sealed well, 
Walled garden, 
Where balsam grows, 
Spiced with cinnamon, 
You are the cedar tree 
Avoided by the snake. 

Sancta Maria. 

Cedar in Lebanon, 
Rose in Jericho, 
Choicest myrrh, 
Subtly scented, 
You are above all angels. 
You atone for Eve. 

Sancta Maria. 

Eve brought us double death, 
One still condemns us. 
You are the opposite, 
You have brought us life. 
The Devil counsels death for us, 
Gabriel sings the word of God. 
Sancta Maria. 

You, a virgin, bore a child, 
The noblest in the world. 
You resemble the sun, 
Risen in Nazareth, 
Jerusalem Gloria, 
Israel Laetitia. 

Sancta Maria. 

Queen of heaven, 
Portal of paradise, 
You were chosen House of God. 

408 Germany 

Sacrarium Sancti Spiritus. 
You guide us on our way, 
To our Judgment Day. 

Sancta Maria. 


Mary Magdalene's Song 1 
Lied der Maria Magdalena 

Peddler, sell me a shade of red 
To make my cheeks glow brightly, 
So I can teach the fine young men 
Not to treat love lightly. 

Young man, 
Look at me, 
I'll please you if you please me 

Go and find some lovely maid 
Shower love upon her. 
Love's sweet harvest, fine young men, 
Will bring you joy and honor. 

Young man, 

Look at me, 

I'll please you if you please me 

Bless you, world! For you are thus 
Rich in earthly pleasure. 
I'll serve you in my own sweet way 
By giving love full measure. 

Young man, 
Look at me, 
I'll please you if you please me 


1 From the Easter play at Benedikt Beuren. 

Der von Kiirenberg 4°9 


The Falcon 

I raised a falcon for more than a year. 

When he was tamed to my heart's content, 

I wound in his wings a golden band 

Then he swooped up high and flew to other lands. 

I watched the falcon in perfect flight, 

From his talons trailed thongs made of silk. 

In his wings there gleamed red and golden feathers. 

May God help all lovers who long to be together. 

I take it to heart and I must cry 

I and my love are forced apart 

Because of liars, may God give them pain. 

Whoever reunites us will make me glad again. 

The dark star goes into hiding 
Like you, my beauty each time you see me. 
Let your eyes glance at another knight 
Then no one will know our bitter plight. 

Both woman and bird are easy to tame. 

They search for the man who can tempt them best. 

Thus a fair maid is wooed by a knight, 

When I think about this, I am filled with delight. 



41 o Germany 

I Stood on a Battlement the Late Eve Darkened 

Ich stuont mir nehtint spate an einer zinnen 

(A lady speaks*) 
I stood on a battlement the late eve darkened. 
To a knight singing sweetly below I harkened. 
'Twas the tune of Kiirenberg rose amid the throng. 
Either he must quit my lands or else to me belong! 

(The knight's answer is addressed to his squire) 
Now bring me hither quickly my armor and my steed, 
For I must quit the lands of a lady with speed. 
Fain would she compel me her dear friend to be. 
She must bear the loss for ever of all love from me! 

(In the next three songs a lady speaks) 

When I am standing in my smock alone, 

And I think of thee, noble man, 

Then my color flushes, as on thorn-spray the rose, 

And many a sad longing, deep within, my heart knows. 


I reared me a falcon more than a year. 
When I had tamed him and meant to keep him near, 
And had adorned his feathers with gold bright and gay, 
He soared aloft so proudly, and flew far away. 

I saw the falcon later, flying so rarely. 

Silken cords he wore became him fairly, 

And his feathers were all of a red-gold hue. 

God send them together, who are dear friends and true! 


Tears come welling up from my sad heart. 
I and my comrade were forced to part. 

Burggrave von Regensburg 4 11 

Liars the cause of that: God give them bane! 
O this were joy, could we be reconciled again! 

(In the last songs a knight is the speaker, 
except that the last two lines are spoken by the 
poet in person^) 

Beautiful woman, now come, go with me! 
Pleasure and pain, I will share both with thee. 
So long as I have life, thou to me art full dear. 
The ways of base lovers thou hast no need to fear! 


The star darkly gleaming hides its dim light. 

So do thou, fair lady: when I stand in thy sight, 

Then let thine eyes rest on some other man. 

So none shall guess easily what we too there may plan. 


All the charm of womankind still goes a maid. 

When to greet her from me my messenger is sped, 

Were it not to her peril, I would after him go. 

I know not how to praise her, I have never loved woman so. 

Woman and falcon are eisilv made tame. 
Both will come flying to a man's lure the same. 
Thus did a comely knight woo a fair lady. 
When I, too, think thereon, my bold heart is ready. 



All Winter I Lay Alone until a Lady 

Brought Me Solace 

Ich lac den winter eine/wol troste mich ein wif 

All winter I lay alone until a lady brought me solace. 
And to our joy, summer arrived, and flowers. 

412, Germany 

The envious grew jealous. My heart is in pain, 
Only a woman's love can cure me again. 

"Now they tell me to avoid the knight. How I mind! 
We lay hidden, happily entwined, 
Secretly together. I grow weak with longing — torn 
From him, our ungentle parting leaves forlorn." 



He Who Asks a Wolf to Dine 
Soon Has Cause to Wail 

Swer den wolf ze huse ladet der nimmt sin schaden 

He who asks a wolf to dine soon has cause to wail. 
A sailor easily overloads a ship that's old and frail. 
What I want to say is clear — 

He who buys his wife dress after dress year after year 
Buys more than that. Too vain to be mastered, 
She calls him a bastard. 



Do You Know What the Hedgehog Said? 
Weistn, wie der igel sprach? 

Do you know what the hedgehog said? 

Everyone should have his own room and bed. 

Build a house, little man, 

A place to live, work, and plan. 

He is very badly off 

Who has no home to call his own. 

He will find the going rough. 

Dietmar von Aist 413 

Whatever the weather, snow or ice, 

In the early morning, the guest must rise. 

Innkeepers stay warm and dry — 

The guest must leave and say goodbye 

To the hearth where he does not belong. 

He who has no home to call his own 

Should have thought ahead while young and strong. 

The rich man lives without a care, 

The man in need goes everywhere 

And takes what comes, both good and bad. 

This must not happen to my lad, 

Who longs to roam and run berserk. 

He pulls my beard until I groan — 

It's time I settled down to work. 



On the Linden Overhead a Bird 

Was Caroling Its Lay 

Uf der linden obene da sane ein kleinez vogellin 

On the linden overhead a bird was caroling its lay. 

From the wood its music rang, whereat my heart was borne away 

To seek a place where once it dwelled. 

I saw the roses blooming there. 
They call into my mind the thoughts that link me 

to a lady fair. 

"Methinks a thousand years are fled since 

in my lover's arms I lay. 

Without or cause or fault of mine he leaves me 

friendless many a day. 

Since the time when last I saw the flowers and heard 

the sweet birds' song, 

414 Germany 

Short, alack, my joy has been and my heart-sorrow 

all too long." 


A Ladv Stood Alone 
Ez stuont ein frouwe alleine 

A lady stood alone, 

And looked out over the field, 

And looked for her lover. 

In the air above her 

A falcon wheeled. 

"Hail, falcon, it is well for thee! 

Thou from a forest tree 

Choosest what bough thou wilt 

To be thy pleasure 

Thus have I also done: 

I chose myself a man, 

My eyes did measure 

And single out his beauty. 

Now fair ladies envy me that booty. 

why will they not leave my love to me? 

1 never cared for love of theirs, but let them be." 



Sleepest Thou Yet, My Sweeting? 
Slafest du, friedel ziere? 

"Sleepest thou yet, my sweeting? 

Our night, alas, is fleeting. 

A litde, lovely bird but now 

Flew to its perch upon the linden bough." 

"I slept, nor dreamed of waking. 
Up, criest thou, Dawn is breaking! 

Friedrich von Hansen 415 

Bliss without bale, this may not be. 

Whatso thou biddest, dear love, I accept from thee." 

She spoke, and wept for sorrow : 
'Thou goest — alas the morrow! 
When wilt thou come to me again? 
My joy goes with thee; I alone remain." 



My Heart and Body Wish to Take Their Leave 
Min herze und min lif diu xvellent scheiden 

My heart and body wish to take their leave, 
Who long together now have gone their way. 
The body longs to go and fight the heathen: 
And yet the heart has chosen a lady 
Before all others it has distressed me since that day, 
One will no longer follow the other's lead. 
Looking upon her has given me much grief. 
God alone can settle this affray. 

I thought that I had lost such misery, 
When I took up the cross for God's renown. 
It would be fitting that the heart were free, 
But that its constancy commands a ban. 
I should most surely be a living man, 
If it would not behave so wilfully. 
Now it is quite indifferent, I see, 
For what my destiny may have in hand. 

Since heart, your ways you will not mend, 
And you wish to leave me with such grief, 
So I pray to God that he may send 
You some place where you will be well received. 
Alas what will befall me when you leave! 
Dare you alone with danger so contend? 

4*6 Germany 

Who will help you sorrow to an end 
With such faithfulness as I did give? 



In My Dream I Saw a Woman 
In minen troume ich sack 

In my dream I saw a woman 

Fair to gaze upon, 

All night long till daybreak; 

When I woke, she was gone. 

Where she is now, alas, 

I have no means of knowing. 

That joy came not to pass 

Which she was showing. 

My eyes did this to me: 

'Twere best, if I could not see! 


If I Might Live to See the Day 
Gelebi ich noch die lieben zit 

If I might live to see the day 
When I could greet that land so fair 
Which harbors all I know of joy, 
Because my lady dwelleth there, 
Then no tear should vex my eye, 
No man or woman hear me sigh 
Or utter words of care. 
Many a thing my mind would please 
That used to be my mind's disease. 

I fancied we were far apart 
Where I should now feel very near. 

Reinmar von Hagenau 417 

In a strange land, my constant heart 

Knows grief that makes old hardships dear. 

Were I somewhere near the Rhine, 

Td hear the news for which I pine 

Since I am planted here, 

Shut off beyond the mountain screen 

That stretches ruthlessly between. 



I Think That Love Will Come My Way 
Ich wan nur liebe geschehen xvil 

I think that love will come my way: 

My heart lifts up towards its play, 

Like the falcon in his flight 

And the eagle on the wind. 

Yet I left my love behind. 

If only I may then discover 

She is unharmed as when I left her! 

It is good with her to rest. 

Lord God, grant me my request 

That I must see her so 

And atone for all her sorrow; 

If she is in distress. 

That I may ease it for her 

And she may make my trouble less; 
We may enjoy our love at last. 
Ah the long night is gladness to me! 

How could I be downcast? 



4i 8 Germany 

You Say, the Summer Is Here Now 
Sie jehent, der sumer der si hie 

"You say, the summer is here now, 

That joy is come to stay, 

And that I am as well as once I was. 

Now speak and tell me how. 

Death has taken much away 

So I can never overcome the loss. 

What do I need then with a time of mirth, 

Since Leopold lord of all joys lies in the earth, 

Whom I never knew to mourn? 

The world has lost by this one death 

As by no other man's 

So great misfortune has been borne. 

I poor woman was so glad 

When I thought of him 

How my salvation lasted while he lived. 

That this I shall no longer have, 

Will with sorrow spin 

Out whatever of my life is left. 

The mirror of my joy is lost. 

What I would have chosen to give my eyes a summer feast, 

I must give up for good and all. 

When they told me he was dead, 

At once the blood welled red 

From the heart on to my soul. 

Joy has been forbidden me 

By my dear lord's death 

And that I must for evermore forgo. 

Since there is no remedy, 

Except to fight distress 

So that my complaining heart is full of woe. 

I am the one who still for him will grieve, 

Reinmar von Hagenau 419 

For this most hallowed man was my comfort in this life. 

Now he is gone. What should I do here? 

Be gracious unto him, lord God: 

For a more virtuous guest 

Did never in your house appear." 


One Thing They Say Displeases Me 
Ein rede der liute tuot mir we 

One thing they say displeases me: 

Indeed, it almost puts me in a rage. 

They keep on asking me my lady's age, 

And want to know, how old is she, 

Because I have been serving her so long. 

They say it to incense me. 

May the sweet mistress of my song 

For that ill-mannered question recompense me! 


The Day on Which I Took the Cross 
Des tages do ich daz kriuze nam 

The day on which I took the cross, 

I kept my thoughts in close control, 

As well beseemed that holy sign, 

And as a pilgrim pure of soul. 

I hoped I might so bind them to God's will 

They would not swerve, nor cease His service to fulfill. 

But now they tend to break away, 

As they were wont, and wander free. 

And this is not my case alone, 

But troubles other men than me. 

42 o Germany 

I well might keep my vows unscathed, 

But that unruly thoughts prevail: 

When I should praise the God to whom 

I have sworn service, there they fail 

To help me in my need, and jeopardize 

My soul's salvation, harking back in treacherous wise 

To those old joys whereof a taste 

Lures me to do as once I did. 

Maiden and Mother, give me grace, 

For these I cannot all forbid! 

Nor would I quite forbid free range 

To thoughts (they have their own domain), 

But rather give them leave to go 

Thither, and straight return again. 

So may they bear a greeting to our friends, 

Turn back, and help me for my sin to make amends, 

And may they be forgiven all 

Wherewith, before, they wrought me ill! 

Natheless, I fear, they are not to trust, 

And often will confound me still. 



If I Saw One Who Could Say He Was 

Come from Her 

Sach ich iemen der jaehe er waere von ir komen 

If I saw one who could say he was come from her, 

I would bless him, though he were my foe. 

Had he robbed me of all else, her messenger 

Should for this his punishment forgo* 

He who but speaks her name 

Has me to friend 

From now to a full year's end, 

What scathe or shame 

Albrecht von Johansdorf 4 21 

To flay me he had wrought 
Should be as nought. 



This I Know, How Love Begins to Be 
Wie sick minne hebt, daz wiz ich wol 

"This I know, how love begins to be. 

How love ends, I do not, dare not, know. 

If within the heart and soul of me, 

I shall feel love's kindling joy a-glow, 

Spare me, Lord, the parting, which I deem 

Bitterest thing of all. 

This I dread beyond the heaviest dream. 

'Where two loving hearts in friendship grow, 

And their loves unite in one strong tie, 

None shall ever part them, living so, 

Till the day when one of them must die. 

So with me, suppose the case my own. 

If I lost my friend, 

See, I should be utterly alone. 

"Many an hour is needed, ere the two 

Gently weld their wills and minds as one. 

Should the end thereof be bitter rue, 

Such I ween, were welcome news to none. 

That be far from me as my own death! 

And if someone there be 

Who loves me, let this warn him to keep faith!" 

She whom serving now, I serve for ever, 
Cannot fail these words to understand. 
More I must not say : this brief endeavor 
Made, I yield me to her kind command. 
Of her grace and goodness I have need, 

422 Germany 

And if she will, give joy 

She can, and if not, I am poor indeed. 



I Found without a Guard 
Ich vant si due huote 

I found without a guard 

The most lovely lady standing all alone. 

Thus spoke his one so good : 

"What are you seeking in this place alone?" 

"Lady, it has happened thus." 

"Say then, why are you come here? You must tell me this." 

"Love sends sorrow 

I complain to you, my lady sweet and kind." 

"Oh, what are you saying, foolish fellow? 

You would do well to give your grieving end." 

"Lady, I cannot do without such tears." 

"Then I will never listen to you in a thousand years." 

"No, my queen, no! 

My service should not go without a wage." 

"You quite senseless grow, 

That you can put me into such a rage." 

"Lady your hate will make me as one dead." 

"Who has driven you, dearest man, to such a need?" 

'Tour beauty has done that, 

Which you have, most lovely lady." 

"Your singing is so sweet 

That it will wound my constant body." 

"Lady, God does not so ordain." 

"If I should listen, yours would be the honor; mine the shame." 

"Let me yet be pleased 

That to you my heart was always kindly." 

Heinrich von Morungen 423 

'Tou may soon be wearied 

Of hurling words against me." 

"Does my speaking seem to have no merit: 1 " 

'Tes, it has given strength to my unwavering spirit." 

"I too have constancy, 

If you will allow me to be true." 

"Be advised by me, 

Give up what I can never grant to you." 

"Shall I be heard then certainly?" 

"God will hear you elsewhere what you desire of me." 

"Shall then my singing and 

All my service come to naught?" 

"You may well gain your end: 

You will not go without reward." 

"Good lady, how should that be understood?" 

"That you are more worthy for it and your spirit is renewed." 



On the Heath on a Morning 
Ich hort uf der heide 

On the heath on a morning 

I heard clear singing and sweetest song. 

Thence came without warning 

Sharp delight and thinking long. 

To her in a throng 

Wishes strong 

Haled with thong. 

I found her a-dancing to her song. 

Freed from mourning 

I leapt along. 

Alone in her bower 

I found her weeping tears like rain; 

4 2 4 Germany 

For only that hour 

Word had reached her that I was slain. 

Less hard to sustain 

Old disdain 

Than see plain 

Her joy at my kneeling there again 


All her pain. 

Alone on the tower 

I found her; she made me so admire, 

With ease in that hour 

I could have had all my desire. 

It seemed the entire 

World in fire 

Must expire: 

Such madness her spirit's sweet attire 

Had the power 

To inspire. 


Ah Me, Shall I No Longer See 
Owe, sol aber mir iemer me 

Ah me, shall I no longer see, 
Shining all through the night, 
Whiter than snow can be, 
Her body lithe and light, 
Which made these eyes of mine 
Unable to divine 
'Twas not the bright moonshine? 
Then came the dawn. 

"Ah me, and shall we never see 
That blessed morrow dawn, 
When, as night's shadows flee, 

Heinrich von Morungen 425 

We shall not need to mourn 
'Alas, now it is day!' 
As he said with dismay 
When last by me he lay. 
Then came the dawn." 

Ah me, with kisses none could tell 
She kissed me as I slept. 
Hotly on me they fell, 
Those heavy tears she wept. 
I cheered her, though, and she 
Let all her weeping be 
And flung her arms round me. 
Then came the dawn. 

"Ah me, how often he would gaze 
Like one in lunacy! 
The coverlet he'd raise, 
Being mad to see poor me 
With nothing on at all. 
It was most wonderful 
How that could never pall. 
Then came the dawn." 


Torturing Glimpses and Passions Unruly 
Leitliche blicke und grozliche riuwe 

Torturing glimpses and passions unruly 
Have wasted my heart and my body for long, 
Yet would I mourn my old suffering newly, 
Were not my fear of the scoffers so strong. 
If, then, I sing of her, 

her whom I can never wrong, 
Let none take falsely what I have meant truly, 
I who was born for the service of song. 

426 Germany 

Some will be saying "Now hark to his singing! 
How could he so if he really were sad?" 
Such cannot fathom the pain that is wringing, 
Such was I ever, for good or for bad. 
When I stood sadly there, 

little heed of me she had: 
Thus it was sadness that set me a-singing, 
Sadness that skills not where people are glad. 

The joy and the crown of my heart is the rarest 
Of all the rare women I ever could see. 
Fair and so far and so fair, the all-fairest 
Is she, and it glads me when others agree. 
All the world shall bow, 

for her beauty's sake, the knee. 
Lady, reward me at last, if thou darest; 
Else were such praising but folly in me. 

When standing before her I gaze on the wonder 
Of beauty which God made her body display, 
So much is joined which elsewhere is asunder, 
There I most gladly for ever could stay. 
Ah me, but I must 

leave her, to my great dismay; 
For all of a sudden she vanishes under 
A dark cloud that snatches her brightness away. 


Lady, Wilt Thou Heal My Smart? 
Frouwe, wilt du mich genern 

Lady, wilt thou heal my smart, 
So let thine eyes upon me gaze. 
I can no longer play this part; 
This way I soon must end my days. 
I am so sick, so sore at heart. 

Heinrich von Morungen 42,7 

Lady, what brought me to this plight? 
My eyes and thy red lips so bright. 

Lady, for my pain have some care 
Before indeed my days must end. 
One word speak into my ear, 
Turn things about, my lovely friend. 
Why must thou always say: no, no — 

No no, no no, no no no ... ? 
This will break my heart in two. 
Canst thou not sometime answer yes, 

Yes yes, yes yes, yes yes yes? 
And thus my heart no more oppress! 



Many a Man Has Been Bewitched by an Elf 

Von den elben wirt entsen vil manic man 

Many a man has been bewitched by an elf: 

So am I bewitched by love so great 

By the best friend man ever took to himself. 

Yet she would only sneer at me for that, 

And be unfaithful to me, may she then take vengeance, 

And do as I beg: she would give me so much pleasure, 

That my life would end for such delight. 

She commands and is mistress in my heart 
And is more lordly than I can ever be: 
If I could have such power for my part 
That she in faithfulness would stay by me 
For three whole days and for as many nights! 
Then I would not lose my strength and life. 
Alas she is only too free of me. 

So burn in me the flames her glances start 
As fire kindles tinder that is dry, 

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And her coldness to me wounds my heart 

As water forces glowing heat to die: 

And her proud bearing, her beauty, and her worth, 

And the wonder that is spoken of her virtues, 

All that is evil and yet good to me. 

Whenever her bright eyes may turn towards me 
In such a way they look right through my heart, 
Whoever stands between and so annoys me, 
He must see his happiness depart, 
For I stand and wait upon my lady 
Like the little birds upon the day: 
When will contentment ever be my part? 


She Has Wounded Me Right Through My Heart 
Si hot mich verwunt reht oldwich mine sele 

She has wounded me right through my heart 

Into the deadly pit, 

For I let her see that I was suffering and distraught 

For her mouth so sweet. 

Once I begged of it if only it would make her serve my will 

That I might steal 

One sweet kiss from her, all would be ever well with me. 

How I begin to hate her rose-red mouth I was sure 

I never could forget! 

Though it troubles me yet that a little while before 

She shunned me, so obstinate. 

I have grown so tired of it, that I would sooner live 

In hell's abyss 

And burn than any longer serve her and know no reason for it. 


Heinrich von Morungen 429 

Saw You the Ladies 

Sack ieman die fromven 

Saw you the ladies 

Whom you may gaze at 

As they stand by the window? 

The beautiful one 

All she has done 

Is give me sorrow. 

She shines as the sun will shine 

Towards the bright morning. 
Who before was in hiding: 
Then I must go grieving: 
I will leave her now. 

Is there anyone here 

Whose senses clear 

He can retain? 

Let him go to the fair one, 

who with her crown 

Has gone away; 

That she may come to comfort me, 

Before I leave this life: 
Love and grief 
Together will lead 
Me to my grave. 

You should write down 
Small on the stone 
Which marks my grave, 
She was dear to me, 
Whom she would not see; 
Who walks above, 
May read this message 

And he will then admit 
The wrong was great 

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She did commit 
Against her love. 



A Lady at the Watchman's Song Perceived 
Den morgenhlic hi wahters sange erkos 

A lady at the watchman's song perceived 

Dawn's gleam as secretly 

Within her noble lover's arms she lay. 

Whereat she lost the great part of her joy. 

Bright eyes could then not help 

But fill with tears. "Alas!" she said, "O Day, 

Beasts wild and tame rejoice at you 

And welcome you, save I alone. What will become of me? 

No longer can my lover here remain 

With me: your light drives him away." 

The day with might pressed in through all the panes. 

They bolted many bolts: 

To no avail; and thence their sorrow came. 

The lady clasped her lover tightly to her 

And their eyes rained down tears 

On both their cheeks. Then her lips said to him: 

"One bodv and two hearts have we, 

Unparted fares our faithfulness, one with the other. 

My great love is now utterly laid waste 

Unless you come to me and I to you." 

The grieving man then took his farewell thus: 

Their fair skins in their smoothness 

Came closer still. And so the day appeared: 

Eyes all in tears and a sweet lady's kiss. 

And there they so entwined 

Their lips, their breasts, their arms, their legs 

all white, 

Wolfram von Eschenbach 431 

That a shield-painter picturing them 

Just as they lay in that embrace would have the 

perfect model. 
And yet their two loves suffered grief enough. 
They gave and took of love in all delight. 


It Has Thrust Its Talons Through the 
Morning Clouds 

l 5 

Sine kldwen (lurch die wolken sint gestagen 

"It has thrust its talons through the morning clouds, 

It rises up with mighty strength, 

I see it change to grey, as day will when it dawns, 

The day, that from this worthy man 

Would take away my company, 

Whom I by night so carefully let in. 

I'll bring him hence now if I can : 

Great virtue in him bade me do as much. 

Watchman, you sing that which takes many joys from me 

And makes my grief the greater. 

Tidings you bring that are, alas! unwelcome to me 

Mornings toward the break of day. 

These you should keep in silence from me. 

To your good faith I thus command: 

I will reward you if I can. 

Then my beloved can remain here with me." 

"He must be up and gone, and that without delay. 

Take your farewell of him, sweet Lady. 

Let him love you with such secrecy henceforth 

That he may keep his life and honor. 

He has so trusted my good faith 

That I would surely bring him back. 

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The day has come: it was night when 

You won him from me with embrace and kiss." 

"Sing now, Watchman, what you will, but leave him here 

Who has brought love and love received. 

By your song he and I alike are terrified: 

If now the morning star does not 

Rise over him who came for love, 

And if the daylight does not shine, 

You still have often taken him 

From my white arms — though never from my heart." 

At the gleam that daylight darted through the panes, 

And as the watchman sang his warning, 

She could not fail to fear for him who was with her. 

She pressed her bosom to his breast. 

The knight no wise forgot his valor 

(The watchman's song kept him from that); 

Farewell that close and closer came 

Gave them with kiss and otherwise reward of love. 


The Lament for the Love of Heroes 
Der helden minne ir klage 

The lament for the love of heroes 
You always sang as the sun rose, 
The sour after the sweet. 
He who loves received 

And welcome of women, though he must soon set forth, 
As you forewarned them both, and then 

The morning star rose, watchman, be silent, sing not of that 


He who lies or lay 

Beside his love in habit's way 

Wolfram von Eschenbach 433 

Shame and concealment scorning, 

Need not in fear of morning 

Take himself off, he may await the day: 

None need lead him away to save his life. 

Such love can still be given by his own sweet wife. 


Bursting Leaves, Flowers Opening 
Ursfrinc hluomen, louf uz dringen 

Bursting leaves, flowers opening 

And the air of May give back their old song to the birds: 

There are new songs I can sing, 

When the frost is lying, good lady, even without your rewards. 

The wood-singing birds and their cry 

No longer rang in the ear when half the summer had gone by. 

The flowers that sparkle with light 

Shall be made brighter by the drops of dew, 

where they are clinging: 
The birds that are so fine and bright, 
All the Maytime rock their children with their singing. 
The nightingale was never still: 
But now I am awake and sing in the valley and on the hill. 

My song will seek your kindness, 

Gentle lady: now help me, since I have so great a need. 

Your reward should quit 1 my service, 

Which I beg and beg again till I am dead. 

Let me take comfort from you, then, 

That my long sorrowing may have an end. 

Sweet lady, can my service have success, 

If your power to help will make me so content, 

That my grief will surely pass 

1 In the archaic sense of requite. 

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And my desiring find with you its longed for end"? 

Your gentle ways command my song, 

Day by day I sing to you both short and long. 

Dear lady, your sweet goodness 

And your charming anger rob me of my joy and calm. 

Will you bring my heart some solace? 

For one kindly word alone from you will be my balm. 

Make an end of my lament, 

Then the days I have to live will be so gladly spent. 


From Titurel 

I Have These Many Evenings Watched for My 

Ich hdn nach liehem vriunde vil dbende al min 


"I have these many evenings watched for my beloved 

From out my window over heath by road and shining meadow, 

And all in vain : he never comes to me. 

For this my eyes must dearly pay with tears 

for my beloved's love. 

"Then I go from the window to the battlements 

To look to eastward and to westward for a glimpse of him 

Who has this long time so constrained my heart. 

I may be reckoned old, not young, among the ones 

who yearn. 

"I journey for a while upon the raging waves; 

I gaze far out, for over thirty miles I gaze 

To hear, if such is possible, some word 

So I may be rid of my sorrow for my fair young friend. 

Walther von der Vogelweide 435 

"What has become of my glittering joy, and how is it 
That my high spirits have departed from my heart: 1 

From both of us 
A sigh must come which I thought I alone would suffer. 
Yearning, I know, will drive him back to me, 
However he avoids me now." 



Under the Lime Tree 
Under der linden 

Under the lime tree 
On the heath 
There our bed was, 
There you can see 
So fair beneath, 

Broken flowers and flattened grass. 
Before the forest in the valley, 
The nightingale sang sweetly. 

I had come 
To the meadow: 
My love had come before. 
There I was given such welcome, 
Holy Virgin! oh 
I am content for evermore. 
A thousand times did we not kiss? 
See how red my mouth is. 

There he made 
So rich and fair 
A bed from blooms. 
There laughter stayed, 

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Is still heard there, 

When somebody the same way comes. 

On the roses, then, he may, 


See where my head lay. 

That he lay by me, 
If it were known 

(Now God forbid!), I'd be ashamed. 
What he did with me, 
Will be known to none 
Except the two of us unnamed, 
And a little bird: 
Wrio will be the silent third. 



O Where Have They Vanished All My Years! 1 
O weh, wte sind entschwunden alle meine Jahr! 

where have they vanished all my years! 
Have I dreamed my life away, or is it real? 

Did I believe in a world that was not really there? 

1 have slept till now and have been unaware. 
Now I have woken, I do not understand 

What was once familiar to me as the back of my hand. 

The people and the land, there where I lived from childhood, 

Are now as strange to me as if they were nothing but falsehood. 

Those who were my companions, have grown heavy and old. 

The field lies fallow, and the trees are felled. 

Only the water flows unchanging as before, 

Surely my misfortune can never be more. 

1 This poem was written as part of the campaign to raise an army to 
go on a crusade: it was written for the Emperor Friedrich 11, who had 
heen excommunicated for his failure to keep his promise to undertake a 
crusade— hence the "unfriendly letters from Rome." 

Walther von der Vogelweide 437 

Many who knew me well, now greet me wearily. 
The world shows everywhere only hostility. 
When I remember how many a wonderful day, 
Is lost to me as if plunged deep in the sea, 
Evermore I grieve. 

O how pitifully the boys and girls behave 

Who in time past were courteous and grave! 

They care for nothing but sorrow: o why is this their way? 

Wherever I turn in the world no one is gay : 

Dancing, laughing, singing are acts of melancholy: 

No Christian ever saw men in such misery. 

Now see the women wear their jewels anyhow: 

The proud knights are dressed like men from the plow. 

We have unfriendly letters sent to us from Rome, 

We are allowed to sorrow there is no joy at home. 

My heart is weary (we lived so well those years), 

For instead of laughter I must choose tears. 

Even the wild birds are grieved by our lament: 

Is it any wonder all my delight is spent? 

O fool, what do I say in my rage and wickedness? 

Who follows earthly pleasures, has lost heaven's blessedness, 

Evermore I grieve. 

how we are surrounded by sweetness everywhere! 

1 see the gall hovering at the honey's core: 
Outwardly the world is fair, white, green and red, 
And inwardly so black, dark as death. 

Let him be comforted, who has been led astray: 

The smallest penance takes the greatest sin away. 

Think of this, knights: it concerns you all. 

You wear the bright helmets and the hard rings of mail, 

The strong shields and the dedicated sword. 

If only I deserved this honor, Lord! 

Then, poor and needy, I would earn rich recompense. 

I would not think of lands or nobles' opulence. 

I would wear forever that hallowed crown : 

The mercenary with his spear might have won. 

If I could make the longed for journey over the sea, 

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I would sing gladly, then, and nevermore grieve, 
Nevermore grieve. 


^ I 

Children Won't Do What They Ought 
Nietnan kan mit gerten 

Children won't do what they ought 
If you beat them with a rod. 
Children thrive, children grow 
When taught by words, and not a blow. 
Children thrive, children grow — 
If you beat them with a rod 
Children won't do what they ought. 

Please be careful with your tongue. 
That's good advice when you are young. 
Push the bolt and lock the door — 
No rude swearwords any more. 
Push the bolt and lock the door — 
That's good advice when you are young. 
Please be careful with your tongue. 

Please be careful with your eyes. 

They show what's foolish and what's wise. 

Let them see what's good and right, 

And keep evil out of sight. 

Let them see what's good and right, 

They show what's foolish and what's wise. 

Please be careful with your eyes. 

Please be careful with your ears. 
A fool heeds everything he hears. 
Evil words, words unkind 
Will do harm to a child's mind. 
Evil words, words unkind — 

Walther von der Vogelweide 439 

A fool heeds everything he hears. 
Please be careful with your ears. 

Please be careful with all three. 
Sad to say, they're much too free. 
Sometimes for your peace of mind, 
It's best to be deaf, dumb, and blind. 
Sometimes for your peace of mind 
Sad to say, they're much too free. 
Please be careful with all three. 



I Sat Cross-Legged upon a Stone 1 
Ich saz uf eime steine 

I sat cross-legged upon a stone, 

And put my elbow on my knee bone: 

I cupped my chin within my hand. 

If only I could understand 

This world and how therein to live: 

But no advice that I could give 

Would show how three things could be won, 

And guarantee the loss of none. 

Wealth and fame are two, 

And each to each will evil do: 

The third is God's good will, 

Which must the others far excel. 

I'd keep it under lock and key. 

But it can never be, 

That worldly goods and place 

Together with God's grace 

1 This poem was written in 1 198. The Emperor Henry VI died in 1 197, 
leaving a son who, since he was still a child, could not he elected em- 
peror. Civil war broke out between the supporters of Henry's brother 
Philip, Duke of Swabia, and the supporters of Otto, son of Henry the 
Lion. The dispute lasted until 1208 when Philip was murdered and 
Otto was crowned emperor in Rome. 

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Into our heart can come and rest. 

The paths have all been lost: 

Dishonesty is out for prey, 

Violence travels on the way: 

Peace and justice bear a wound. 

The three can have no safety, if these two are not sound. 


Whoso, Lord God, Being Bold to Say 

Swe cine vorhte, herre got 

Whoso, Lord God, being bold to say 

Thy Ten Commandments, finds a way 

To break them for true love has failed to care. 

Thy Fatherhood most men confess. 

He who regardeth me as less 

Than brother gives no meaning to that prayer. 

Of the same substance we are made, 

We grow alike, our daily bread 

Passes into our bodies, whence we thrive. 

Who then can tell the master from the man, 

When their bare bones, by worms bereft 

Of differing flesh, alone are left, 

Though he had known then both full well alive. 

Christian, Jew and Paynim serve His plan, 

From Whom all living wonders life derive. 


Winter Has Done Us Great Harm Everywhere 
Uns hat der winter geschadet iiher at 

Winter has done us great harm everywhere. 
Field and forest are withered and bare, 
Hushed every voice that made melody there. 

Walther von der Vogelweide 441 

O to see girls playing ball on the fair 

Open road, and to hear songs of birds in the air! 

Would I might sleep until winter were o'er! 
Waking, I grieve, and my anger is sore 
At his wide sovereignty dreary and hoar. 
May will most surely defeat him once more. 
Flowers I shall pluck where the grass lieth frore. 


Lady World, You Tell the Devil 

Vro Welt, ir suit dem wirte sagen 

Lady world, you tell the devil 

I have settled my account: 

I have atoned for all my guilt; 

He can write off the last amount. 

His debtors all do well to grieve. 

I'd rather borrow from a jew, than owe it to the devil that I live. 

He's silent until judgment day: 

Then he demands a surety 

Which even he cannot repay. 

"Walther, there is no need for anger: 
You should remain with me on earth. 
Think how I have given you shelter, 
Whatever you asked there was no dearth, 
Whenever you begged I was glad to give. 
That you seldom begged from me was my deepest grief. 
Think how well your life is spent: 
If you deny my words are true, 
You will never be content." 

Lady world, I've fed too well : 
It is time that I was weaned. 
Your gentleness has used me ill, 

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The pleasures that it gives are sweet. 

When I looked into your eyes 

The wonder of your beauty could always take me by surprise: 

Yet within so much decays 

I know the horror that's behind vou, 

And I will curse you all my days. 

"Since you will not change your mind, 
Do one thing only that I say: 
Remember many days were kind, 
And now and then just look my way 
When there is nothing else beguiles." 
I would do so most willingly, if I did not fear your wiles 
That no man can yet defeat. 
Lady, God give you then, goodnight: 
I will set forth to my retreat. 



Who Slays the Lion? Who Slays the Giant? 
Wer sleht den lewen, wer sleht den risen? 

Who slays the lion? Who slays the giant? 

Who conquers both is self-reliant, 

He can control himself and tame 

His limbs from wildness into calm. 

False shame and manners borrowed for a day 

Only to win a stranger's smile 

May shine forth brightly for a while: 

But the gilt's soon rubbed away. 


Neidhart von Reuental 443 


And If Some Place I Have a Home 
Und han ich indert heime 

And if some place I have a home, 

Where may it be? 

The swallow with a speck of loam 

Has more than me. 

For this is all she needs to form 

A cot to last her through the summer warm 

God give me a house with sheltering roof 

By Lengenbach, and proof 

Against the winter's storm! 


I Never Saw the Field 
Ine gesach die heide nie baz gestalt 

I never saw the field 
In lovelier bloom. 
Sunrays the green leaves 
Of the wood illume. 

With joy, in both we hail the May's advance. 
Maidens, now take hands, 
And merrily haste to meet the summertime in 

festive dance! 

Praise unto May is given 

By many a tongue! 

From many a bank and brae 

The flowers have sprung, 

Where but a short while since no flowers had been. 

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The budding limes are green, 

And gentle maids, as you have heard just now, 

in the dance are seen. 

They are carefree and filled 
With joy's excess. 
You maidens clothed with charm 
And loveliness, 

Adorn yourselves, and let Bavarians praise, 
Let Franks and Swabians gaze 
Enraptured! Lace the dainty smocks you don for 


'Tor whom shall I adorn me?" 
A maiden said. 

"The drowsy fools see nothing! 
My hopes are dead. 

Honor and joy the world accounteth strange; 
The men seek nought but change; 
Women of whom they might be proud come not 

within their range." 

"Not so," her playmate answered. 
'We shall not need 
To say farewell to gladness. 
Of men, indeed, 

Many there are who value women's best 
And comeliest, 

And I am wooed by one who can drive sorrow from 

the breast." 

"Let me behold that worth 
To me unknown! 
The girdle that I wear 
Shall be thine own. 

Tell me the name of him who loveth thee 
With such fine constancy! 
I dreamt last night thy thoughts were fixed on 

one of fair degree." 

Neidhart von Reuental 445 

"He whom they call the Squire of Riuwental. 
Whose song is the delight 
Of one and all, 

He is my friend. Nor shall he lack reward. 
For him, my heart's adored, 

I will array me. Hence, and come along, the dance 

is toward!" 


The Season's Here! 
Diu zit ist hie 

The season's here! 

I have seen none lovelier this many a year. 
No more does winter cold and keen 
Afflict the heart, rejoicing and serene 
Among the woods so green. 

May comes bringing 

Flowers abundant and the mirth of birds a-singing. 

See the field in bright array 

Pranked, with hues so beautiful and gay 

Its cares are driven away! 

"Come now with me, 

Playmate, and let us haste to the linden tree! 
There shalt thou find what most thine eyes 
Desire: recall last season's memories! 
This game is worth a prize." 

"Now let me don 

My dress, for I am eager to be gone 
To join the dance and join the play. 
Not a word, dear Irmengart, I pray! 
He will be there today." 

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Quicker than thought, 

From the press her gayest gown was brought. 

Swiftly was the girl arrayed. 

"To the leafy linden tree my steps are swayed. 

My troubles are allayed!" 



Among Sweet Tones in Forest Bowers 
In dem walde sileze doene 

Among sweet tones in forest bowers 
songs of litde birds are gay; 
on the meadow lovely flowers 
blossom in the warmth of May. 
Now sweet joy my heart redeems 
and gratefully my breast o'erflows 
for the wealth of love it knows — 
even as the poor are rich in dreams. 

Hope it is beyond all measure 

which for her sweet self I dare; 

may I win this priceless treasure, 

be forever free from care. 

The wish alone has brought me gladness; 

may God also grant to me 

that my dream fulfilled be 

which so well has banished sadness. 

May she, sweet one, false one never, 
from deception wholly free, 
let me hold this dear hope ever, 
or until it's granted me. 
Be this joy of long duration; 
let me yet in hope awake; 

Mechthild von Magdeburg 447 

do not from my yearning take 

this precious dream, my consolation. 

Of all my joys, I most receive 

from wishes and from tenuous thought. 

May her goodness not deceive 

but grant reward, as lovers ought, 

at least to understand me more 

and give me of her own sweet bliss 

a little portion, knowing this 

will not diminish her own store. 

Blessed May, it's you alone 

who bring the world its wholesome curing; 

you and all the world, as one, 

bring joy almost beyond enduring. 

How could you do such bounteous giving 

without my very precious dear? 

for it is she keeps hope so near, 

the hope for which I go on living. 



Lord 'Tis Said That from the World 
Herre, es heizzt mins herzen lust 

Lord, 'tis said that from the world 

I have held my heart's delight, 

Have kept it myself 

And other creatures all denied. 

I may no further carry it — 

Lord, where shall my delight be laid? 

Nowhere shalt thy delight be laid 
Save in my Godly heart, 
And on my human breast; 

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There only art thou blessed 
And with my spirit kissed. 


Most Gladly Would I Die of Love 
Ich stiirbe gem aus Minne 

Most gladly would I die of Love, if that might be; 
For whom I love 'twas mine with my lit eyes to see 
Him standing in my soul — my Love in me. 



Ails a Human Heart 

Wie der Liebeswunde gesunde 

Ails a human heart 
From true Love's aching dart, 
For such there is no healing art, 
From those selfsame lips apart, 
Whence came that eager smart. 


Dearest Love of God, I Pray Thee, Evermore 
Enfold My Soul 

Eta, liebe Gottesminne 

Dearest Love of God, I pray Thee, evermore enfold my soul, 

My death it were with deepest woe, 

If of Thee I must be free. 

I pray Thee, Love, O let me not grow cool; 

For dead are all the works I do, 

Der Wilde Alexander 449 

May I not feel Thee. 

O Love, dost sweetly bring to bitter grief, 

To God's own children givest teaching and relief. 

O strong Love-bond! Thy hand is fond, 

With binding power, to hold both young and old. 



Years Back When We Were Children 

Hie vox do wir hinder waxen 

Years back when we were children 

and at the stage of running 

in gangs about the meadows — 

here to this one, there to that one — 

we picked up violets 

on lucky days: 

there you can now see cattle gadding about. 

I still remember hunching 

ankle deep in violets, 

squabbling over which bunches were fairest. 

Our childishness was obvious — 

we ran dancing rounds 

with our new green wreaths. 

So time passes. 

Here we ran swilling strawberries 

from oak and pine, 

over hedges, over turnstyles, 

as long as day was burning down. 

Then a gardener 

rushed from an arbor: 

"O.K. now, children, run home." 

We came out in spots 

those yesterdays, when we stuffed on strawberries; 

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it was just a childish game to us. 

Often we heard 

our herdsman 

hooing and warning us; 

"Children, the woods are alive wth snakes." 

One of the children, breaking 
through the sword grass, grew white 
and shouted, "Children, a snake 
ran in there. He got our pony. 
She'll never get well. 
I wish that snake 
would go to hell." 

'Well then, get out of the woods! 

If you don't hurry away quickly, 

I'll tell you what will happen — 

if you don't scurry away 

from the wood by daylight, 

you'll lose yourself; 

your pleasure will end in bawling. 

Do you know how five virgins 

dawdled in the meadows, 

till the king slammed his dining room door? 

Their shouting and shame were outrageous, 

their jailer tore everything off 

down to their birthday suits; 

they stood like milk cows without any clothes." 



There Comes a Ship All Laden 
Es kutifpt ein schiff geladen 

There comes a ship all laden 
Right up to highest board. 

Hans Rosenpliit 451 

It brings the Son of the Father, 
The true eternal Word. 

Upon a calm still ocean 
The little ship is borne 
It brings us richest treasure, 
The noble Heaven-Queen. 

Maria, thou Rose so precious, 
A branch of everv bliss 
Thou lovely blossoming crocus 1 
O free us from our sins! 

Quietly the ship doth move, 
Rich burden unsurpassed, 
The sail is tender Love 
The Holy Ghost the mast. 



He Who Scrubs a Raven White 
Wer baden wil ein Raben weiss 

He who scrubs a raven white 

And works at this with all his might — 

Who wants the sun to parch the snow, 

A chest to lock up winds that blow, 

To sell bad luck, or so he hopes, 

Who wants to bind all fools with ropes, 

To shear bald men, though they're not hairy — 

He loves what is unnecessary. 


1 A play upon words in German cannot he reproduced' the word 
"crocus" also means "timeless, heyond time."— Translator's Note. 

45 2 Germany 


Nuns' Drinking Song 
Trienklied der Nonnen 

Let us sing and all be gay 

In the roses 
With Jesus on this happy day 
Who knows how long we're here to stay 

In the roses 

Let the wine of Jesus flow 

In the roses 
That is where we all should go 
Then with joy our hearts will glow 

In the roses 

For us He'll pour out cypress wine 

In the roses 
We'll all be drunken from the wine 
And from our love, sweet and benign 

In the roses 

Let us raise our glasses high 

In the roses 
Let's drink up, and drain them dry 
The wind is the Holy Ghost who sighs 

In the roses 

Let the wine be passed around 

In the roses 
Soon we will be homeward bound 
Filled with the timeless joy we've found 

In the roses 



Very little remains of Germany's lyric poetry prior to the twelfth 
century, although there actually existed a substantial body of 
elegies, heroic poems and gnomic and erotic verse. Included 
here are such remnants as The Lay of Hildebrand (Hilde- 
hrandslied [c. 700]), which illustrates the rugged attitude of 
Germanic tribesmen moving into the collapsing world of the 
Roman Empire; and several spells, which reflect the pre- 
Christian mentality endeavoring to control the forces of Nature 
by magical means. From the charming "Thou Art Mine, I Am 
Thine" a tender note seems to announce, like a propitious 
dawn, the arrival of the minnesang — the love poets. 

albrecht von johansdorf (fl. 1197), a Bavarian 
minnesinger of noble descent, served under the Bishop of 
Passau and participated in a crusade, perhaps that of 1197. 
Among his forty-three poems, there are sixteen songs and two 
crusading songs — reflecting his personal experiences and ad- 
mirable poetic gifts. 

dietmar von aist (c. 1 1 50-1 170), an Austrian noble- 
man from Mauthausen, a town by the Aist, a tributary of the 
Danube, lived through the transition period between the some- 
what crude Austro-Bavarian verse and the newer courtly con- 
vention of the minnesang. In addition to the lovely "A Lady 
Stood Alone," in which he used, as did Der Kiirenherg (q.v.) r 
alternate stanzas for knight and lady, he is remembered for his 
"Sleepest Thou Yet, My Sweeting?" the oldest alba (Tagelied*) 
in the German language. 

friedrich von hausen (c. 1150-1190), aRhenish 
minnesinger, was born toward the middle of the twelfth cen- 
tury near Kreuznach, in Worms. He served the Archbishop of 
Mayence in 1 1 75 and when a decade later Henry VI went to 
Italy he formed part of his retinue. Later he accompanied 
Frederick Barbarosa in the third crusade ( 1 1 89) and was killed 
at the battle of Philomelium (Syria) on May 6, 1190. He left 

454 Germany 

some fiftv-five poems which despite their echoing at times 
Bernart de Ventadorn (q.v.) and Conon de Bethune (q.v.), 
show him to be a highly sensitive, inspired and original poet. 

heinrich von morungen (d. 1 222), born in the 
Sangerhauser region of Thuringia, served in the court of 
Dietrich von Meissen, whom he accompanied in 1197 to the 
Holy Land. He retired to the monastery of St. Thomas in Leip- 
zig where he died and where he is buried. In the thirty-eight 
pieces extant — lieder, albas, pastourelles — the troubadour in- 
fluence (especially Bernart de Ventadorn's [q.v.]) is discernible, 
but nonetheless his masterful control of his art, his rich imagery, 
his expressive language, places him as the greatest of the min- 
nesingers, with the one exception, perhaps, of Walther von der 
Vogelweide (q.v.). 

kurenberg, der von(c i 150-1 160) derived from the 
Austrian family of the Kiirenberger that lived near Linz, on 
the Danube. Fifteen of his poems have been preserved. Because 
of his Nibelungenlied type of stanza, totally free from Provencal 
influences, some critics have wanted to attribute to him the 
German epic poem, the Nibelungenlied. Best known among his 
works is The Falcon (Falkenlied^), the falcon symbolizing the 
hero, and thereafter, the inconstant lover — an ever recurring 
literary symbol (cf. Kriemhild's dream in the Nibelungenlied 
and also songs of Dietmar, Reinmar, Heinrich von Miigeln and 
Meinloh von Sevelingen). 


tic writer best known for her Das fliessende Licht der Gottheit, 
after her novitiate in Magdeburg entered the Cistercian con- 
vent in Helfta, near Eisleben, where she died. Her verse fuses 
the qualities of the Canticles with those of the minnesang, ex- 
pressing adequately her intense religious feelings. 

NEIDHART VON REUENTAL (c. I180-I250) Reuen- 

thal means 'Valley of Cares," a name given to him because of 
his incurable penury — was born in the region of Landshut, in 
Bavaria, of noble parentage. During his youth he sojourned at 
the court of the Duke Louis of Bavaria and participated in 

Notes and Biographical Sketches 455 

1 21 7-1 219 in Leopold's expedition to Syria. Toward 1230, hav- 
ing lost Duke Ottoman II's favor, he served Frederick II of 
Austria. Little or nothing is known about him after 1237. By 
depicting, and often burlesquing, the life and manners of the 
peasantry in his dance-songs (T anzlieder) , Neidhart discovered 
a new vein which grew in popularity, to the detriment of the 


minnesinger of noble lineage, was probably the son of Burg- 
grave Heinrich III, who died in 1 177, and brother of Burggrave 
von Rietenberg, who also wrote poetry. In Regensburg's work 
the folkloric mixes with the world of chivalry. 

REINMAR VON HAGENAU, dcf olte (c. II55-I210) was 

born in the Alsatian town of Hagenau, not far from Strasbourg, 
and lived for a long time at the court of Duke Leopold IV, 
whom he accompanied in the crusade of 1190. He left several 
lieders and albas and a crusading song, and all his work is 
characterized by a sweetness and tenderness suggestive of 
Petrarch, to whom he has been compared. Gottfried von Strass- 
burg called him "the nightingale of Hagenau." 

rosenplut, hans (XV th century), also known as Hans 
Schnepperer, was a Nuremberg armorer who, championing the 
rising middle class, waged a bitter struggle against the powerful 
lords then headed by Markgraf Albrecht Achilles of Branden- 
burg. A precursor of his fellow townsman Hans Sachs, he wrote 
satires, plays, political songs, crude for the most part but quite 

spervogel (c. 1 170), pseudonym of a minstrel-knight, a 
writer of didactic poems, folksy, humorous. 

tauler, johannes (c. 1300-1371), Dominican friar, a 
disciple of Meister Eckart, was active in Basel, Cologne and 
Strasbourg, his native city. In addition to his sermons, eighty of 
which are extant and which show him as a popularizer of the 
ideas of the great mystics, he wrote some lovely religious lyrics. 

ulrich von lichtenstein(c. 1 200-1 275), Styrian 
knight from Lichtenstein, led an adventurous life colored by 

456 Germany 

the ideals and madness of Don Quixote. His autobiography in 
verse, Vrowendienst (c. 1255), presents a panoramic view of 
life at the end of the minnesang and of knight errantry. Ulrich 
wrote also over sixty lyrics: dance-songs QT anzlieder) y love 
songs, and albas. The charming "Among Sweet Tones in Forest 
Bowers" was set to music by Mendelssohn. 


has been considered the greatest lyric poet in the German lan- 
guage before Goethe. Born in the Austrian Tyrol, he probably 
studied in a religious school where he learned the art of poetry, 
making his literary debut toward 1190. In Vienna he served in 
the court of Duke Leopold V, competing there with Reinmar 
von Hagenau (q.v.). After Leopold's death (1194) he con- 
tinued in the service of Leopold's son, Frederick I, who met an 
untimely death in the Holy Land (1198), and after that 
Walther roamed the land — now following the son of Frederick 
Barbarosa, now Othon of Brunswick. When Pope Innocent III 
excommunicated Othon, Walther sided with Othon and rose 
violently against the Pope. Toward 1220 Frederick II granted 
Walther a fief in Wurzug, where he lived until his death. It 
is not at all certain that he took part in the Sixth Crusade 
(1228- 1 229). Walther left approximately 200 pieces: lieder, 
pastourelles, gnomic poems and much political verse — some of 
which are among the loveliest lyrics in the German language. 

wilde Alexander, der (late XHIth century), i.e., the 
wandering Alexander, is the pseudonym of a commoner from 
Southern Germany, a rather enigmatic figure, who delighted in 
allegorical and gnomic poems. One of his singular contri- 
butions, unique for his times, was children's poetry. 

wolfram von eschenbach (c. 11 70-1 21 7), con- 
sidered the greatest epic poet of medieval Germany, was born 
in Eschenbach, near Ansbach, and served as counselor to vari- 
ous lords, among others Count von Wertheim and the Land- 
grave Hermann of Thuringia. His major work was Parzival. 
His lyrics, some eight lieder and five albas or Tagelieder, are 
characterized by their dramatic and sensuous qualities. 



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Abu Salt Umayya, 291 
Abu-1-Hasan Ben Al-Qabturnuh, 

Abu-1-Hasan Al-Husri, 290 
Abu Zakariyya, 292 
Adam de la Halle, 147, 193 
Agnes de Navarre-Champagne, 

158, 193 
Airas Nunes, 300, 389 
Aist, Dietmar von, 413, 453 
Alain Chartier, 172, 193 
Albrecht von Johansdorf, 420, 453 
Alcamo, Cielo d', 209, 276 
Alfonso X, 303, 388 
Al-Husri, Abu-1-Hasan, 290 
Al-Magribi, Ben Said, 292 
Al-Qabturnuh, Abu-1-Hasan Ben, 

Al-Talla, Ibn, 290 
Alexander, Der Wilde, 449, 456 
Ali Ben Hariq, 291 
Alighieri, Dante, 245, 276 
Angiolieri, Cecco, 233, 275 
Arezzo, Guittone d', 223, 278 
Aquino, Rinaldo d', 221, 279 
Assisi, St. Francis of, 206, 277 

Bacalaria, Uc de la, 73, 74, 90 
Beatritz de Dia, 39, 84 
Ben Hazm, 289 
Ben Said Al-Magribi, 292 
Ben Suhayd, 289 
Berbezilh, Richart de, 62, 90 
Berceo, Gonzalo de, 323, 391 
Bernart de Ventadorn, 29, 85 
Bertran de Born, 50, 85 
Bethune, Conon de, 116, 144 
Bologna, Onesto da, 254, 278 
Bonagiunta Orbicciani, 221, 275 
Born, Bertran de, 50, 85 
Bornelh, Giraut de, 41, 86 

Brule, Gace, 125, 195 
Burggrave von Regensburg, 411, 

Cabestanh, Guilhem de, 69, 86 
Cardenal, Peire, 77, 88 
Cavalcanti, Guido, 234, 277 
Cecco Angiolieri, 233, 275 
Cercamon, 12, 85 
Charles d'Orleans, 174, 197 
Chartier, Alain, 172, 193 
Chastelain de Coucy, 115, 193 
Chretien de Troyes, 108, 194 
Christine de Pisan, 163, 194 
Cielo d' Alcamo, 209, 276 
Cino da Pistoia, 253, 276 
Codax, Martin, 313, 388 
Colin Muset, 138, 194 
Conon de Bethune, 116, 194 
Coucy, Le Chastelain de, 115, 193 

Dalfin d'Alvernhe, 67, 85 
Dante Alighieri, 245, 276 
D'Aurenga, Raimbaut, 35, 89 
Der Burggrave von Regensburg r 

4H> 455 
Der von Kiirenberg, 409, 454 
Der Wilde Alexander, 449, 456 
Deschamps, Eustache, 159, 195 
Dia, Beatritz de, 39, 84 
Dietmar von Aist, 413, 453 
Dinis, King of Portugal, 318, 388 
Donati, Forese, 250 

Enzo Re, 217, 276 

Eschenbach, Wolfram von, 430, 

Eustache Deschamps, 159, 195 

Faidit, Gaucelm, 72, 74, 86 
Fazio degli Uberti, 269, 276 

Index of Poets 


Fernandez, Roi, 314, 388 
Fernandez de Turned, Nuno, 302, 

Folgore da San Gimignano, 231, 

Forese Donati, 250 
Francis of Assisi, St., 206, 277 
Franco Sacchetti, 272, 279 
Friedrich von Hausen, 415, 454 
Froissart, Jean, 156, 195 

Gabirol, Solomon Ibn, 296, 387 
Gace Brule, 125, 195 
Gaucelm Faidit, 72, 74, 86 
Giacomo da Lentino, 208, 277 
Giraut de Bornelh, 41, 86 
Guido Cavalcanti, 234, 277 
Guido Guinizelli, 219, 278 
Guilhade, Joan de, 315, 389 
Guilhem de Cabestanh, 69, 86 
Guillaume de Lorris, 126, 195 
Guillaume de Machaut, 153, 196 
Guinizelli, Guido, 219, 278 
Guiot de Dijon, 123, 196 
Guittone d'Arezzo, 223, 278 

Hagenau, Reinmar von, der Alte, 

4i7> 455 
Halevi, Judah, 298, 387 
Halle, Adam de la, 147, 193 
Hariq, Ali Ben, 291 
Hausen, Friedrich von, 415, 454 
Hazak, Jacob Bar Juda, 149, 196 
Hazm, Ben, 289 

Heinrich von Morungen, 423, 454 
Hurtado de Mendoza, Diego, 337, 

Ibn Al-Talla, 290 

Jacob Bar Juda, Hazak, 149, 196 
Jacopone da Todi, 224, 278 
Jaufre Rudel, 25, 87 
Jean de Meun, 128, 195 
Johansdorf, Albrecht von, 420, 453 

Kurenberg, Der von, 409, 454 

Le Chastelain de Coucy, 115, 193 

Lentino, Giacomo da, 208, 277 
Lichtenstein, Ulrich von, 446, 456 
Lopes de Baian, Afonso, 314, 389 
Lopez de Mendoza, Ifiigo (Mar- 
ques de Santillana), 341, 

Lorenzo, Juan, 325, 391 
Lorris, Guillaume de, 126, 195 
Llull, Ramon, 373, 393 
Lubbal, Qadi Ben, 292 

Machaut, Guillaume de, 152, 196 
Macias O Namorado, 321, 389 
Malik, Sahl Ben, 291 
Manrique, Jorge, 344, 391 
Marcabru, 15, 87 
March, Ausias, 376, 394 
March, Pere, 375, 394 
Marie de France, 109, 197 
Mauleon, Savaric de, 74, 90 
Mechthild von Magdeburg, 447, 

Mena, Juan de, 343, 392 
Meogo, Pero, 308, 389 
Meun, Jean de, 128, 195 
Montaudun, The Monk of, 64, 88 
Morungen, Heinrich von, 423, 454 
Muset, Colin, 138, 194 

Neidhart von Reuental, 443, 455 
Nunes, Airas, 300, 389 

Onesto da Bologna, 254, 278 
Orbicciani, Bonagiunta, 221, 275 
Orleans, Charles d', 174, 197 

Peire Cardenal, 77, 88 

Peire Vidal, 43, 88 

Peirol, 67, 88 

Pero Meogo, 308, 389 

Petrarch, Francesco, 255, 279 

Pisan, Christine de, 163, 194 

Pistoia, Cino da, 253, 276 

Qadi Ben Lubbal, 292 

Raimbaut d'Aurenga, 35, 89 
Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, 40, 89 
Re Enzo, 217, 276 


Index of Poets 

Regensburg, Der Burggrave von, 

Reinmar von Hagenau, der Alte, 

Reuental, Neidhart von, 443, 455 
Richard the Lion-Hearted, 114, 

Richart de Berbezilh, 62, 90 
Rinaldo d' Aquino, 221, 279 
Roiz de Castelo-Branco, Joao, 317, 

Rosenpliit, Hans, 451, 455 
Rudel, Jaufre, 25, 87 
Ruiz, Juan (Archpriest of Hita), 

328, 392 
Rutebeuf, 140, 197 

Sacchetti, Franco, 272, 279 

Sahl Ben Malik, 291 

San Gimignano, Folgore da, 231, 

Sanchez Calavera, Ferran, 338, 

Sant Jordi, Jordi de, 379, 394 
Santillana, Marques de, 341, 392 
Savaric de Mauleon, 74, 90 
Sem Tob, 336, 393 

Solomon Ibn Gabirol, 296, 387 
Spervogel, 412, 456 
Suhayd, Ben, 289 

Tauler, Johannes, 450, 456 

Tob, Sem, 336, 393 

Todi, Jacopone da, 224, 278 

Uberti, Fazio degli, 269, 276 
Uc de la Bacalaria, 73, 74, 90 
Ulrich von Lichtenstein, 446, 456 
Umayya, Abu Salt, 291 

Vaqueiras, Raimbaut de, 40, 89 
Ventadorn, Bernart de, 29, 85 
Vidal, Peire, 43, 88 
Villon, Francois, 184, 197 
Vogelweide, Walther von der, 

435, 456 
Walther von der Vogelweide, 435, 

Wilde Alexander, Der, 449, 456 
William IX, Count of Poitiers, 6, 

Wolfram von Eschenbach, 430, 

Zakariyya, Abu, 292 
Zorro, Joan, 310, 390 

ndex of Translators 

Aldan, Daisy, 31-32, 45-47, 100, 105-109, 1 18-122 

Barker, Gillian, 415-416, 417-419, 422, 427-430, 432-434, 435-438, 

439-440, 441-442 
Barrett, R. G. L., 448-449 

Bergin, Thomas G., 6-1 1, 32-33, 67-69, 79—81 
Bergonzi, Bernard, 258 

Birenbaum, Harvey, 12-13, 28-29, 39, 62-64, 77-79, 184 
Bishop, Morris, 256-258, 259, 260-262, 267-268, 269 
Blackburn, Paul, 13-25, 33-35, 49~52, 64-65, 69-71, 74-77 
Bonner, Anthony, 184—185 

Index of Translators 463 

Brandeis, Irma, 147-149, 237-238 

Closs, Elizabeth, 403-404 
Cotterell, Mabel, 447-448, 450-451 

Dahlberg, Charles, 126-138 

Davis, William M., 26-28, 41, 47-49, 54-56, 57-59, 60-62, 81-83, 

144-146, 149-152, 153, 206-207, 240, 293-300, 301-303, 308- 

314, 314-322, 324-328, 3^9-333, 338-341, 343-344, 352-356, 

359-36i, 362, 366-367, 370-385 
De Palchi, Alfredo, 206, 247-248 
Di Giovanni, Norman T., 336—337 
Donno, Daniel J., 208-209, 219—220, 221-223, 233-234, 236, 245, 

253-254, 272 
Duffy, James, 357~359 
Durling, Dwight, 152, 1 70-1 71, 177-178, 263-264, 265, 267, 269—272 

Elmslie, Kenward, 402, 404-409, 411-413, 438-439, 451-452 

Fiedler, Leslie A., 248-250 
Fletcher, Frances, 341—342 
Flores, Kate, 337~338, 365 
Fraser, G. S., 234-235, 242-243 

Gee, Kenneth, 415-416, 417-419, 422, 427-430, 432-434, 435-438, 

439-440, 441-442 
Goode, Judith, 246 
Gould, Joy, 231-233 
Gray, John, 224-230 

Honig, Edwin, 328-329, 361-362, 363-365, 366 

Keller, John E., 303-307 

Kemp, Lysander, 289-290, 290-293, 368-370 

Battel, Muriel, 122-123, 160-170, 172-173, 175-177, 178-183, 185- 
189, 190-191 

Lancaster, Charles Maxwell, 99 

LeClercq, Jacques, 6, 102, 154, 156-160, 174-175 

Leishman, J. B., 423—426 

Lowell, Robert, 449—450 

Morgan, Edwin, 259-260, 264, 266-267, 344 _ 35 2 

Nozick, Martin, 342-343 

Oliver, Kenneth, 446-447 

Passage, Charles E., 1 09-1 13, 430-432, 434 
Patt, Beatrice P., 323-325 

Raiziss, Sonia, 206, 247—248 

464 Index of Translators 

Richey, Margaret F., 410-41 1, 413-415, 416-417, 419-422, 440-441, 

Rossetti, D. G., 209-216 
Russell, Peter, 264-265, 268 

Salinger, Herman, 400—401, 426—427 

Shapiro, Norman R., 40, 41-42, 72-74, 104, 138-140, 141-144, 152- 

153, 154-156 
Sharpe, Lawrence A., 301, 314 

Terry, Patricia, 101-102, 102-103, 105-106, 114-117, 123-126 
Tobin, James Edward, 140-141, 147, 171-172, 173-174, 334 
Tusiani, Joseph, 238-240, 243-244 

Valency, Maurice, 5, 25-26, 35-39, 43-45, 65-67, 208, 221, 223-224, 
235-236, 245-246, 254-256, 262, 273 

Wilhelm, James J., 29-31, 53-54, 56-57, 59~6o, 217-218, 237, 238, 

241—242, 250—253 
Willis, Ellen, 189-190 

Yorck, Ruth, 402, 404-409, 411-413, 438-439, 451-452 


(Titles that are also first lines are indicated in Roman type) 

A Debate, 74 

A knight was with his lady fondly lying, 72 

A lady at the watchman's song perceived, 430 

A lady begs me, 238 

A lady stood alone, 414 

A shepherdess well made, 319 

Abenamar, 366 

About two kings I'll write half-a-poem, 56 

Absorbed in one fond thought that makes me run, 263 

Afrdh, 298 

Ah, God, who made her good to see, 182 

Ah! How I fear, Milady, lest I die, 156 

Ah how I like to see great power pass, 59 

Ah me, alas! Am I so very base, 253 

Ah me poor wretch, who loved a falcon, 206 

Ah me, shall I no longer see, 424 

Index of Titles 465 

Ah moon, you shine too long, 1 66 

Ah, waves, I come to see, 313 

Ah, woe to me alas, for love has bound, 254 

Ails a human heart, 448 

Alas! if I had married, 374 

Alas, ugly lady, you complained, 316 

All too much I long to see, 149 

All winter I lay alone until a lady brought me solace, 411 

Almighty God, who made the noble state, 1 73 

Alone am I, alone I wish to be, 165 

Alone in martyrdom I have been left, 1 68 

Along the river shore, 311 

Am I, am I, am I fair?, 161 

Among sweet tones in forest bowers, 446 

An Amorous Thorn, 272 

And if some place I have a home, 443 

Arise, fond lover, who sleeps on chilly mornings, 302 

As lilies white, more crimson than the rose, 152 

Away with you! Begone! Begone!, 178 

Ballad for Fat Margot, 187 

Ballad of Juliana, 361 

Ballad of the Cool Fountain, 366 

Ballad of the Fair Melisenda, 363 

Ballad of the Hanged, 190 

Ballad of the Ladies of Olden Times, 1 89 

Be gallant, mannerlie and pure of heart, 1 56 

Beauty of women of noble heart, 235 

Behold the Lovely Maid!, 297 

Below the brow I bear your lovely countenance, 379 

Beyond the sphere which turns most distant, 245 

Bursting leaves, flowers opening, 433 

But is there no flower, perfume or violet?, 160 

By God, my lords, let us lift the veil, 338 

By the sweat of my brow I toiled, 107 

By water's edge sing sisters three, 1 04 

Children won't do what they ought, 438 

Come, bewitcher, 294 

Come, January, I give you these treats, 231 

Come, let us taste delight, 181 

Comes Easter, ah, without him, 295 

Complaint of the Weavers, 108 

Count Arnaldos, 362 

Cups without wine are lowly, 298 

Dalfin, a target for your bow, 67 

Dearest Love of God, I pray Thee, evermore enfold my soul, 448 

466 Index of Titles 

Death cannot sour the sweetness of her face, 269 

Delgadina, 368 

Despair herself regards me as her son, 234 

Dispute of Elena and Maria, 327 

Do not speak to me, count, 358 

Do you know what the hedgehog said?, 412 

Don Pitos Pay as, 329 

Easter Day, 334 

Encounter of the Archpriest with V errand Garcia, 328 

Fair Aye sits at her cruel lady's feet, 102 

Fair now to behold the outgreening, 32 

Far from you and close to care, 341 

Father in heaven, after each lost day, 258 

Floret silva undique, 404 

For April I give you the countryside, 232 

For Mr. X I've only mischief, 315 

Fresh newborn rose, 241 

Friend Bernard de Ventadorn, 29 

Friend, I can't deny, 317 

From thought to thought, from mountain peak to mountain, 260 

Full well I know how to speak of love, 35 

Gentle knight/ Now give me a kiss, 359 

Go, grieving rimes of mine, to that hard stone, 267 

Go out, worm, with nine little worms, 402 

Great is my envy of you, earth, in your greed, 266 

Hair, my pretty hair, 310 

Have mercy, Love! Give ear, 223 

He has not sung who's made no sound, 28 

He who asks a wolf to dine soon has cause to wail, 412 

He who scrubs a raven white, 451 

Heavenly King, glorious God of light, 41 

High waves that ride the sea, 41 

Hill Song [Near Tahlada], 331 

Hill Song of La Zarzuela, 359 

His Poverty, 140 

His Repentance, 141 

I am an enemy to trickery and pride, yy 

I am Francois, to my dismay, 184 

I apologize, my lady, though guiltless, 57 

I curse the hour, the moment and the day, 1 54 

I dwell in deep anxiety, 39 

I find no peace, yet am not armed for war, 262 

I found without a guard, 422 

Index of Titles 467 

I gaze upon her light crisp-curling hair, 269 

I grew up in a village, 360 

I have made a sirventes in which no word is missing, 50 

I have no liking for one who in all things is not, 385 

I have set my heart on serving God, 208 

I have these many evenings watched for my beloved, 434 

I like gayety and horsing around, 64 

I love him who loves me, otherwise none, 181 

I much dislike, I dare avow it, 65 

I never saw the field, 443 

I put an end to singing, 47 

I refuse to be a nun, 357 

I sat cross-legged upon a stone, 439 

I seek to make my speech a yawp as bitter, 248 

I stood on a battlement the late eve darkened, 410 

I think that love will come my way, 417 

I went in quest of measure, 321 

I will no longer serve you, 169 

I will not pick verbena, 358 

I will sing and so relieve, 123 

If all the grief and sorrow, the strife, 53 

If I must feel your wrath eternally, 152 

If I might live to see the day, 416 

If I saw one who could say he was come from her, 420 

If I were fire, I'd burn the world away, 233 

If I'm in church more often now, 171 

If life survives these years of bitter woe, 255 

If Mercy were a friend to my desires, 236 

If the world were mine, 404 

If this insensate rage, 116 

If you go to bathe, Juanica, 357 

If you truly want me, 294 

I'll make some verses just for fun, 6 

I'll tell you in my own way, 22 

I'm pleased when gaudy Eastertime, 60 

In an orchard a little fountain flows. 1 04 

In an orchard, under the leaves of a hawthorn, 5 

In April around Easter the streams grow clear, 1 5 

In Battle, 290 

In Lisbon by the sea, 311 

In March, for you a gift of fish I boast, 231 

In Mourning, 290 

In my dream I saw a woman, 4 1 6 

In no way can a prisoner reveal, 1 14 

In October, figuring up your share, 232 

468 Index of Titles 

In the book of my thought, 1 80 

In the fair times of new-born spring, 1 o 

In the green grass, 309 

It has thrust its talons through the morning clouds, 431 

It is the evening hour; the rapid sky, 256 

It is worthless to write a line, 33 

It'll be a long time again before my friends, 49 

John Bolo's acting grim, 321 

Ladies I like well dressed, 375 

Lady, wilt thou heal my smart?, 426 

Lady world, you tell the devil, 441 

Lament of the Virgin, 323 

Let the three of us now dance, oh friends, 301 

Let's dance, let's dance, us pretties, 312 

Lord 'tis said that from the world, 447 

Love and my lady, too, 149 

Love is a subtle spirit that can slay, 253 

Love often agitates my heart to thought, 217 

Love we attend the Vision of the Rose, 264 

Lover, as God may comfort me, 158 

Lovers, beware the dart that flies, 1 78 

Magic Spells, 402 

Malady, Death and Resurrection of Saint Lazarus, 100 

Many a man has been bewitched by an elf, 427 

Mary Magdalen's Song, 408 

May I sing to you?, 122 

Mercy, lover mine!, 296 

Milady, comely, candid, worldly-wise, 155 

Moral Proverhs, 336 

Moriana's Poison, 370 

Most foolish fools, oh foolish mortal men, 1 72 

Most gladly would I die of love, 448 

Most hateful is it to my eyes, 125 

Mother, I shall not sleep, 295 

Mother, see my love!, 295 

Mountain Song of Finojosa, 342 

Mourning of the Mother of Lorenzo Ddvalos, 343 

My friend is going, mother, 310 

My heart and body wish to take their leave, 41 5 

My heart is captive to gray, laughing eyes, 171 

My Lord, although I strum and sing, 138 

My Lord Dragoman, if I had a good steed, 44 

My lord Ibrahim, 294 

My lords, I pray you now, give ear, 37 

Index of Titles 469 

Never the summer seemed to me, 404 

News has been spread in France concerning me, 174 

Night Fiesta on the River, 292 

Nightlong, daylong, as the sweet, 6 

No doubt at all, I'll take him on as critic, 17 

No, little sweetheart, no, 295 

No more shall I take comfort, 221 

Nothing will ever seem to me more cruel, 246 

Now has come the gracious month of May, 1 66 

Now like another's child, 296 

Now skies and earth are stilled and winds are dead, 263 

Nowhere so clearly have my inward eyes, 265 

Nuns' Drinking Song, 452 

O flowers, o flowering green pine, 318 

O lady mine, caught you no glimpse of him, 237 

O love, all love above, 224 

O Love, O Love, what wouldst thou make of me?, 157 

O lovely mountain shepherd lasses, 273 

O waves of the sea of Vigo, 313 

O where have they vanished all my years, 436 

Of all known flowers, men hold the rose most rare, 157 

Of the Characteristics of Small Women, 334 

On Saturday evening, the week at an end, 102 

On the heath on a morning, 423 

On the linden overhead a bird was caroling its lay, 413 

Once on a certain nameless town, 79 

One day I fondled her on my knees, 300 

One day the rats of all degrees, 1 59 

One thing they say displeases me, 419 

Open your eyes, Milady, Tun me through, 155 

Out of love, 361 

Pale beauty! and a smile the pallor there, 259 

Phol and Wo tan were riding in the forest, 402 

Poem of a Glass Blower, 105 

Pray for peace, oh gentle Virgin Mary, 175 

Priests disguise as shepherds, 81 

Provencals right well may versify, 320 

Rassa rises, thrives, and prospers, 54 
Rich in love and beggar to my heart, 153 
Romance of the Rose [Guillaume de Lorris], 126 
Romance of the Rose [Jean de Meun], 128 

Saw you the ladies, 429 

She has wounded me right through my heart, 428 

470 Index of Titles 

She looked at me and her eyelids burned, 296 

She used to let her golden hair fly free, 259 

Since I no longer hope, O my sweet song, 243 

Since my courage is clarified, 23 

Sleepest thou yet, my sweeting?, 414 

Small wandering bird who singing go your way, 268 

So much loving, so much loving, 293 

So much the more as I draw near my land, 147 

Some I've seen so crudely, 336 

Song for the Virgin Mary, 40 5 

Song of Parting, 317 

Song of the Ill-Married, 104 

Song VII, 303 

Song XVIU, 305 

Sorely tried is Israel, the hapless folk, 149 

Sounds of the Trades, 106 

Spinning Songs, 101 

Stanzas on the Death of His Father, 344 

Stetit puella, 403 

Strike down my heart with but a single blow, 1 54 

Summer has sent his minions on, 1 77 

Sweet lady fair, 167 

Tell me, daughter, pretty daughter, 308 

Tenzone Sequence, 250 

That tree with its leaves atremble, 337 

The Artichoke, 290 

The Ballad of the Hanged, 190 

The Barhs of Mingo Revulgo, 352 

The Battle, 292 

The Belle Heaulmiere to the Daughters of Joy, 184 

The Book of Alexander, 325 

The Book of True Love, 328 

The Cancionero, 357 

The Canticle of the Creatures, 206 

The Circumcision of Our Lord, 118 

The Dawn, 291 

The day on which I took the cross, 419 

The Dispute of Chariot and the Barber, 144 

The earth, like a girl, sipped the rains, 298 

The eyes that drew from me such fervent praise, 266 

The Falcon, 409 

The frightful basilisk, most poisonous, 208 

The Gentle Heart, 219 

The gods and goddesses, those great, 1 70 

The lament for the love of heroes, 432 

Index of Titles 471 

The Laustic, 109 

The Lay of Hildebrand, 400 

The Mistress of Bernal Frances, 371 

The nightingale whose ardent, soft despair, 267 

The Oars of the Galley, 291 

The Old Woman Laments the Days of Her Youth, 185 

The Prisoner, 365 

The Romancero, 361 

The season's here, 445 

The Sequence of Saint Eulalia, 99 

The Spear, 292 

The Storm, 289 

The summertime delights me, 300 

The sweet softness with which love serves me often, 69 

The sweet voice of the woodland nightingale, 115 

The time is such that each brute beast, 376 

The Visit of the Beloved, 289 

The weather has laid aside his cloak, 1 79 

The White Horse, 291 

The widow wearing white or saffron, 375 

The woods are wild and were not made for man, 264 

There comes a ship all laden, 450 

There in a woodland, to my thought more bright, 242 

There's no day without night, 336 

There's no finer treasure, 336 

They have told me some news, 314 

This I know, how love begins to be, 421 

Those mountains, mother, 357 

Thou art mine, I am thine, 403 

Thou sweetly-smelling fresh red rose, 209 

Time comes for those ascending to descend, 217 

Titurel, 434 

To a short day and a great ring of shadow, 247 

To all my dainty loves, goodbye, 1 48 

To Cino da Pistoia, 254 

To Guido Cavalcanti, 245 

To Guido Guinizelli, 221 

To sing with joy from out a sorrowing heart, 1 69 

To the Virgin, 147 

To whom shall I tell my sorrows, 360 

To you, Lady Virgin Santa Maria, 373 

Torturing glimpses and passions unruly, 425 

True love warms my heart, 1 3 

Under the lime tree, 435 
Under the sun I ride along, 8 

472 Index of Titles 

Vexation, enemy of youth, 381 
Villon's Epitaph, 190 

Watchman on the tower, watch with care, 40 

Well pleased am I with the gentle season, 45 

We're the pens, saddened and dismayed, 238 

What shall I do or what become of me?, 293 

When days grow long in May, 26 

When I breathe this air, 43 

When I see the skylark winging, 3 1 

When I see the waves, 314 

When it is May, and the darkness is short, 101 

When the star appears at daybreak, 374 

When the waters of the spring, 25 

When truth disappeared from the world, 301 

Where is the place my thought may find repose, 377 

Whether long or sparing, 337 

While we watch these flowers fair, 1 79 

Who slays the lion? Who slays the giant?, 442 

Who's there, my heart?— It is we, your eyes, 182 

Who's this that comes, as each man looks at her, 235 

Whoso, Lord God, being bold to say, 440 

Why do we let them oppress us?, 107 

Winter goes and weather betters, 1 9 

Winter has done us great harm everywhere, 440 

With mournful tones my verses start, 1 2 

Without my heart, love, thou shalt not depart, 158 

Workers' Songs, 105 

Ye Gods! of time I am weary, 163 

Years back when we were children, 449 

You have done so much by your great gentleness, 164 

You have in you the flowers and the green grass, 234 

You say, the summer is here now, 418 

You see me like the elephant, 62 

You've filled my mind so full of grief, 237 

Yvain, 108 


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